Gloucestershire Places of Worship

St Mary the Virgin, Upleadon (1) (21k) St Mary the Virgin, Upleadon (2) (25k) St Mary the Virgin, Upleadon (3) (24k) St Mary the Virgin, Upleadon (4) (42k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
St Mary the Virgin, Upleadon
St Mary the Virgin,
Forge Lane,
Upleadon, Gloucestershire.


We don't know whether 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 1066, 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] St Mary the Virgin's Church was a pleasant surprise, as I wasn't expecting to find such a delightful 16th century tower, but it's impossible to miss when driving past. The church is set back from the road in an enclosed “Court” area, and on a prominent mound, which the guide book suggests might have been a site of ancient, and even pre-Christian worship.

It also suggests the mound may have been man-made, providing a place of refuge from the marshy area surrounding the River Leadon. The proximity of the river is evident in this photograph, as I'd travelled here from only a few miles further north, where we were bathed in sunshine to this area, which was shrouded in mist collecting on the low-lying ground. Perhaps not so majestic as Avalon, but seeing the tower rising up out of the mist from a distance was decidedly spooky![1]

[Image 2] The Nave is Norman. The early church had a Saxon East Window where the Chancel Arch is now. It was later deepened, and a Sanctuary and Chancel added. A new East Window was added at this time (1848/9). The side panels feature the Four Evangelists and the Centre Panel shows the Lamb of God. The Saxon Arch was later replaced by the present wide archway in 1879, but a drawing of it made between 1849 and 1879 has been preserved, as has a record of tombstones in the sanctuary dated 1622-1734.

Unfortunately I haven't seen these, and I also missed seeing a carving of the head of a pig, behind the Chancel Arch. The guide book tells us such symbolism is common in west-country churches, a sow and farrow indicating a selected holy place, with possibly also a link with boar-hunting in the forests of early times.[1]

[Image 3] The base of the Tower is cleverly joined to the Nave to give the appearance of a complete structure. However the Nave is Norman, whereas the Tower was added sometime in the early 16th century. It is half-timbered from the base upwards, which is unusual, if not unique in a timber tower. The main framing is of single oak beams, hand crafted to a smooth finish - the manner of its construction, as an “X”. of which here we see the lower “Wishbone”, giving it additional stability.

Even so, various underpinnings have been necessary since its construction, relating to settlement of the mound, so much so that in 1966, the church was declared unsafe. Happily, however a great deal of restoration work has ensured its present-day survival.[1]

[Image 4] There is plenty for the visitor to see in this church, both inside and out. This fine Norman doorway dates from the 12th century, and its tympanum features an “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God) carving. The Norman “string course” is preserved both above the door, and along both north and south walls of the Nave.

The original building was of red sandstone, which has been patched over time with white limestone.[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 SO7688226955. 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 Upleadon, 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 7 Apr 2011 at 13:10.

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This Report was created 3 Sep 2021 - 12:29:16 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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