Gloucestershire Places of Worship

St John the Baptist's Church, Preston by Ledbury (1) (28k) St John the Baptist's Church, Preston by Ledbury (2) (32k) St John the Baptist's Church, Preston by Ledbury (3) (29k) St John the Baptist's Church, Preston by Ledbury (4) (34k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
St John the Baptist's Church, Preston by Ledbury
St John the Baptist's Church,
Preston Court, off B4215,
Preston by Ledbury, 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 before 1275, and we understand it is still open.

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] Preston Church is in a secluded spot, at the end of a turning from the A417 road marked "Serendipity". The Church may be tiny, but it has a long history. According to the guide leaflet, it was built about 1275, probably on the site of a former wattle and daub Saxon Church.

The porch and parts of the chancel and north wall date from the original structure - the newest part being the vestry added in 1895. The entrance doorway is Norman, above which is a tympanum with an “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God) carving, one of only 2 others in Gloucestershire. Some experts believe the carving dates back to the Saxon period, so it is possible it was saved from the old church.

Although ironically I missed seeing it on my visit, since it is hidden by the porch, I saw one of the others later the same day, in St Mary the Virgin's Church at Upleadon.

In 1585, the Manor of Preston was held by Queen Elizabeth, and Preston Court, the timber framed manor house which can be seen above the roof on the right of the photo, dates back to this time. It was leased to Fulke Greville, who was Treasurer of the Navy and secretary to the Council of the Marches of Wales. It is probable however, that a manor house existed on the site long before that, since the church and manor belonged originally to St Peter's Abbey at Gloucester from the reign of Edward I, until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, when it was granted to the Bishop of Gloucester.[1]

[Image 2] Preston Chuch has several grand memorials inside, including those to the PAUNCEFOOT family, who lived at Preston Court, and one to Sir Thomas and Lady Anne HANBURY. Sir Thomas was born at Preston and was formerly married to Elizabeth CATESBY. Anne was the daughter of Sir Nathaniel POWELL.

There is a memorial plaque on the north wall to the left of the doorway commemorating John MASEFIELD (1878-1967), the Poet Laureate, who was baptised at Preston. It was presented by the Masefield Society in 1994.[1]

[Image 3] This view of the west end of the church shows the stained glass window in the west wall, which is in memory of Robert CHURCHILL who was killed in World War II. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, there is a memorial to him in the Churchyard, although I didn't see it on my visit.[1]

[Image 4] There are several grand monuments in Preston Church, including this one to Anne ROBBINS, which is on the north wall on the right hand side entering the church. She was the wife of Henry ROBBINS, and formerly the wife of Thomas RICH, an Alderman of Gloucester, and she occupied Preston Court after the death of its previous occupant, John POWELL in 1632.

As can be seen it shows her image, with angels either side and the coat of arms of her own and her husband's family above. The plaque below provides a long inscription giving a history of her marriages, but unfortunately I was unable to read it.[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 SO6799634592. 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 Preston by Ledbury, 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 Rosemary Lockie.

Information last updated on 28 Jul 2011 at 00:00.

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This Report was created 23 Aug 2021 - 22:54:30 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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