There are many churches and religious buildings, such as priories throughout Gloucestershire, including in Cheltenham, The Cotswolds & Gloucester. This includes church buildings ranging from Gloucester Cathedral to the many small rural village churches. There are also many churches in the Forest of Dean that are worth visiting.
Visit Gloucestershire Churches
Some notable, beautiful and famous churches for architectural or historical reasons.
St Nicholas Church, Gloucester
On Lower Westgate Street is the historic St Nicholas Church, often overlooked by visitors because of the cathedral. This church has a fascinating history. The tour guides here are top-notch and very knowledgeable. The church’s history started in the 12 century and was damaged in the English civil war during the siege of Gloucester.
The church has many great artefacts, including a replica 14th sanctuary knocker (the Original is in the museum). People who used to knock to claim sanctuary in the church used this. Basically, a medieval safe space. One feature seen from the outside is the large bracket clock that is fixed onto the south side of the tower in 1716. This is rather unique by the numbers on the clock’s face. It uses IIII rather than IV to denote the time at 4 o’clock.
St Nicholas in Hardwicke
A village church on one of my favourite walks and in the middle of the local countryside. The buildings date back to Norman times and are very well preserved. About Hardwicke Church…
St Michael & All Saints Eastington
St Michael & All Saints Church in the village of Eastington is on the banks of the River Frome. This church is set in some stunning scenery and a magnificent spot to have a break while walking the River Frome. About…
St Bartholomew’s Churchdown
St Paul’s Church in Cheltenham.
St Paul’s Church was built to be the first ‘free’ church in Cheltenham, they founded it in 1831. Historically, Cheltenham’s vicar of the time was alarmed to see the rich of the town were coming to his church and yet their servants had nowhere to worship. The vicar set about building a church for the poor, a church where you didn’t have to pay to worship God.
St Marys Cheltenham
We also know Cheltenham Minster as St Mary’s Church is located just off the high street. The Minster is the only surviving medieval building in Cheltenham; it has been in continuous use for 850 years, unless it’s closed for repairs.
They believe it to have replaced a Saxon church erected on this site in the 8th century. In the Domesday Book, the church and its land (the rectory) were recorded as belonging to William the Conqueror’s chancellor, Regenbald, also known as Reinbald, who then bequeathed it to Cirencester Abbey.
St Peters Church in Gloucester
On London Road, Gloucester, St Peter’s is a Roman Catholic Church. St Peter’s was built between 1860 and 1868. It was designed by Gilbert Blount and consecrated in 1868. The architecture is in the gothic-revival style and has a very nice spire. The site is now a Grade II listed building.
Mariners Church Gloucester
Sailors from many nations frequented the Mariners’ Church in Gloucester Docks, which opened in 1849. In its first 5 years, 2,000 copies of the Bible were distributed.
They built the Mariners Church predominantly for the workers in the dockyard and crews of boats that had moored nearby. It has always welcomed all residents of Gloucester. Today, it is still a draw for people who come from far and wide to visit while exploring the historic docks.
St Mary de Crypt Gloucester
The St Mary de Crypt Church is in the city centre on Southgate Street, Gloucester, next to Greyfriars Priory Ruins. St Mary de Crypt is an Anglican Church that has a history dating back to 1140. In the 12th century, they knew it as The Church of the Blessed Mary within Southgate. They have recently restored the church in 2019, however, before that they had sadly fallen into disrepair.
They founded the original Crypt School in 1539, the original schoolroom next to the church still exists. The church has a fascinating history, including being used to store and make ammunition in the First English Civil War.
The church is very interesting architecturally; they built it in the 12th century. The building currently includes several surviving Norman features. One of the most significant is the well preserved carved tympanum. You can find this over the Southgate Street Entrance, which depicts the Agnus Dei. Agnus Dei is the symbols of the Resurrection of Christ, based on the Book of Revelation in the bible. Additions and renovations over the centuries have expanded the church. However, it still has some of its original features.
The church often has guides to show you around for larger groups of people. Visitors can book tours on the church’s website.
When visiting the church, notice the organ. The organ is a prominent feature towards the end of the aisle. The original schoolroom of Crypt school is now a cafe that you can enjoy a nice snack accompanied with a hot or cold drink.
Towards the rear of the church is a historic graveyard, which has many old gravestones to peruse. This is next to Cafe Rene and near to the Greyfriars Ruins. This is one of many interesting churches in Gloucester that you can visit.
St Margaret’s Chapel Gloucester
On London Road towards Hillfield Park in the city, St Margaret’s is a small chapel. The building dates back to 1193. Originally it belonged to the Leper Hospital of St Margaret and St Sepulchre.
Church of St. John the Baptist in Cirencester in The Cotswolds
St John the Baptist church in the marketplace is the largest parish church in Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds. The church dates back to the 11th century and, as a result, encompasses many of the subsequent architectural styles. They built St. John the Baptist church from local Cotswold stone and it has medieval stained glass windows. The church is a grade I listed building and, as a result, is a great place to have a mooch around.
St Laurence Church Stroud
St. Laurence Church is in the Shambles, Stroud. The site has been a place of worship for over 700 years. In 1866, the Victorians felt that the existing building could no longer meet the growing demands of the town and rebuilt the church, except for the 14th century tower and spire, which are original structures. The grounds are a nice place to go for reflection or somewhere quiet to enjoy an alfresco lunch.
St Mary’s Church Painswick in The Cotswolds
In the centre of Painswick in the Cotswolds is St Mary’s Church, a fantastic place to visit, especially inside and through the churchyard. Their churchyard is rather special and is home to 99 yew trees. The Cotswold Church is lovely to visit inside to see the decor and stained glass windows. On my last visit, they also had a nativity for Christmas.
Quedgeley Church – St James
St James Church is a Church of England church in School Lane, Quedgeley. The church has been a Grade II listed building since 1955. People have used the site of the current church for religious reasons since before 1095. They originally built the church in 1210 with additions of the chancel in the 13th century and further additions. However, they have rebuilt parts of the building over the centuries, including the nave and chancel in 1857.
They built the building using ashlar with a Cotswold stone roof. The opening between the nave and north aisle has three bays in the traditional 13th-century style. The current site is a nice place to sit and reflect, and admire the building from many angles.
The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin in Tewkesbury
The centrepiece of the town of Tewkesbury is its famous abbey, The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin. Tewkesbury Abbey is a former benedictine monastery and is great to have a look around as well as attend events like food fayres on its grounds.
They consider the abbey one of the best examples of Norman architecture in the country. It has a Romanesque crossing tower that is the largest in Europe. The church is home to three organs with the Milton Organ, which dates back to the 17th century.