Gloucestershire Places of Worship

St Mary's Church, Kempsford (1) (49k) St Mary's Church, Kempsford (2) (29k) St Mary's Church, Kempsford (3) (45k) St Mary's Church, Kempsford (4) (47k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Phil Draper
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St Mary's Church, Kempsford
St Mary's Church,
High Street,
Kempsford, Gloucestershire.


This Church has (or 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, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1923 describes St Mary the Virgin's Church as "an edifice of stone in the Norman and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel with south aisle, lofty nave, and a remarkably fine central tower with pinnacles, containing a clock and 6 bells". The British Listed Buildings website says the nave is early 12th century, the chancel added in the 13th century, and the tower heightened in the mid 15th. The tower's lierne vault was decorated in heraldry in 1862; the chancel has a wagon roof, with a painted ciborium (canopy, supported on columns) probably of same date as tower decoration.

Kelly continues: "the church, which is richly adorned with stained windows, was partially restored and a chancel aisle added in 1858, and the restoration was completed during the periods 1885-7 and 1889-91". An acre of land was added to the churchyard and enclosed with a wall and railing, put up at the expense of the late John Hampson Jones esq.

The living in 1923 was a vicarage, with the chapelry of Whelford annexed, and was held since 1922 by the Rev. Aubrey Baskervill Mynors M.A. of Oriel College, Oxford. In the vicarage garden are the remains of a castle built by John of Gaunt to defend the ford. In 1901 Mrs. Gresham Wells left a cottage in trust to the vicar for the use of a nursing sister for the poor.

Kempsford is 3½ miles south from Fairford, and in 1923 the terminal station of the East Gloucestershire branch of the Great Western railway; and 10 miles south east from Cirencester. Dunfield, 1 mile north-west, Horcott, 3 miles north, and Whelford, 1½ miles north, are hamlets. Whelford has a chapel of ease, dedicated to St Anne, erected in 1864.

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] The church did not disappoint, a norman nave and a 14th century chancel are split by a Perpendicular tower of superb appearance. The nave has no aisles and there is a near-continuous moulding around its walls. It was heightened by a clerestory, probably at the time when the tower was (re)built. North and south porches, but only the north one is in use today.[1]

[Image 2] The chancel has a two-bayed south chapel, largely 19th century by G.E.Street, with an ornate arcade. The nave roof is fine carpentry but pride of place is reserved for the tower space with tall side windows, and a vault which was painted with heraldry and patterns in Victorian times, an effort which enhances its appearance. Also features a clumsy large standing monument in the north side of the Chancel, and much fine 19th century glass.[1]

[Image 3] Pride of place is reserved for the tower space with tall side windows, and this vault which was painted with heraldry and patterns in Victorian times, an effort which enhances its appearance.[1]

[Image 4] Stained glass is by Heaton Butler & Bayne.[1]


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.


This Church is located at OS grid reference SU1613896493. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


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 Kempsford, 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.


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 18 Apr 2013 at 08:40.

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This Report was created 20 Jul 2021 - 10:33:16 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 27 Mar 2021 at 10:54.

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