Church towers and spires once guided travellers from place to place and they remain distinctive markers in the landscape. Here are some of our favourites
Parts of this building date to pre-1700, but the Tower was added in 1720. The striking weathervane depicts Halley’s Comet which was visible in England in 1759. This area of South Gloucestershire is rich in non-conformist history.
Don’t miss: The Bodysnatchers stone in the graveyard – used to prevent early medical researchers exhuming bodies to dissect.
Postcode: BS16 1ND
One of Gloucestershire’s famous Wool churches, funded by the wealth from the mediaeval wool trade, St James’ features a majestic tower that in 2016 was named one of the 50 best in England. Built around 1500 it is 58m tall with crocketed pinnacles.
Don’t miss: the mediaeval wall hangings behind glass under the tower.
Postcode: GL55 6JG
The distinctive timbered tower at St Mary’s church dates back to Tudor times. In a rare example of this type of tower, the wooden uprights rise up from the foundations and are inlaid with red brick. It is joined to the Norman nave of the church.
Don’t miss: the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) carving on the tympanum over the Norman north door.
Postcode: GL18 1EG
Work on the current Gothic Revival style building began in the 1850s, and the chancel opened for worship in May 1857. However, it wasn’t until 1876 than the tower and spire were completed. They are now a prominent local landmark.
Don’t miss: The original Hardman Studios stained glass windows
Postcode: GL50 3PR
When the current Georgian Gothic style church was built in the late 18th century, it retained an earlier tower with its elegant spire. These started to subside some 100 years later, and was rebuilt as an exact copy, using much of the original material. At 57m it is believed to be the fourth highest spire in the country.
Don’t miss: the high dark oak box pews – some customised by their users.
Postcode: GL8 8JG
The unbuttressed tower of local stone was part-built in the 14th century but completed later. In the 1730s the 184-foot spire collapsed; it was rebuilt with royal aid by Nathaniel Wilkinson of Worcester in 1760. The spire was repaired in 1983 and further works are currently underway, supported in part by GHCT.
Don’t miss: The Doom Painting depicting the Last Judgement in vivid pictorial form
Postcode: GL17 0HU
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