Gloucestershire Places of Worship

St Helen's Old Church (Ruins), Alveston (32k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Phil Draper
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St Helen's Old Church (Ruins), Alveston
St Helen's Old Church (Ruins),
Church Road,
Alveston, Gloucestershire.

Cemeteries

This Church had a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in the 12th century, though it is now closed, but we don't yet know when.

Kelly's Directory of 1897 describes Alveston as a village and parish containing the hamlet of Earthcott and part of the hamlet of Rudgway [sic], and on the Gloucester and Bristol road, 2 miles south from Thornbury terminal station of a branch of the Midland railway, 7 west south west from Wickwar, and 9 north from Bristol. The old church of St Helen, is described as an ancient building of stone, in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and an embattled western tower, which "is now used only for funerals".

At the time Kelly's account was written, its replacement, "New" St Helen, was a mere decade old, having been erected in 1885. A new building was needed as the old building was in a poor state of repair, and the centre of population had shifted since it was first built. One hesitates to suggest this was a consequence of the advent of the railways; more likely, perhaps was the result of more mechanisation, and fewer labourers were needed to work the land, as is believed to have happened elsewhere in the area.

There is a short description of "Old" St Helen's included on the Alveston Parish website, which suggests that it has Saxon origins. I am unsure about this, as whilst Domesday recorded a priest in nearby Olveston, there was no mention of one in Alveston (23 villagers, 5 smallholders and 7 slaves).

Histories written prior to 1885, when it was replaced by the new St Helen's, do not shed any light on this. However, as the church is now in ruins, Ralph Bigland's account of the building at the time he published its Memorials (1791) may be of interest:

"The church, which is dedicated to Saint Helen, is a small building, neatly pewed and fitted up within, and has a low decent tower, that has lately been repaired, with battlements, containing 3 bells. This living being annexed to Olveston, for the incumbents thereof and patrons, see that parish".

For details of the remains which now survive, and more photographs see the British Listed Buildings website.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] St Helen's Old Church at Alveston is away from the main village and new Church, in an area now called Rudgeway. I like this dark moody appearance for a ruin, with thorny hedge, rather than sunshine and flowers! (2002)[1]

Denomination

Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.

Maps

This Church was located at OS grid reference ST6319686507. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

(NB I know the first two don't work as intended - the Jury's still out as to what to do about it...)

Resources

I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Alveston, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Acknowledgements

A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Phil Draper.

Information last updated on 5 Nov 2018 at 15:38.

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This Report was created 2 May 2019 - 18:46:52 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 7 Feb 2019 at 07:45.

URL of this page: http://churchdb.gukutils.org.uk/GLS11.php
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