Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 9 Images St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (1) (97k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (2) (80k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (3) (78k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (4) (89k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (5) (103k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (6) (86k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (7) (65k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (8) (93k) St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester (9) (80k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of John Williams/Phil Draper
St Mary de Crypt's Church, Gloucester
St Mary de Crypt's Church,
Southgate Street / Greyfriars, GL1 1TP,
Gloucester, 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 1137, and we understand it is still open.

St Mary de Crypt Church site on Southgate has housed a church from the 12th century, when it was known as the "Church of the Blessed Mary within the Southgate". It has also been known as Christ Church, and "St Mary in the South".

It was consecrated in 1137, although the West doorway is all that remains of the early church. Henry Dene was responsible for its rebuilding in the late 15th century; a sundial on the rear of the church is said to hide damage done by Royalist canon fire in the Siege of Gloucester in 1643, but the Agnus Dei tympanum is thought to be Victorian.

The 18th century font was used for the baptisms of George WHITEFIELD (1714-1770, 'Whitfield' in some sources), co-founder of the Methodist Movement, and Robert RAIKES 'the younger' (1736-1811), who popularised the Sunday School Movement. The registers, apart from those in current use, are stored in Gloucestershire Archives Office. The City of Gloucester has just one memorial to George Whitefield, and this is on the north west tower column of St Mary de Crypt. It was erected in 1985, to mark the 250th anniversary of his Ordination. Like Wesley, he had been ordained as an Anglican Priest, and he had preached his first sermon from the pulpit on 27 June 1736.

George Whitefield's son John died in 1744, and is buried in St Mary de Crypt. The church also contains the family vault of the Raikes family. Robert Raikes the younger was the son of Robert Raikes, a newspaper publisher (the Gloucester Journal), an Anglican layman and philanthropist. The Sunday School movement, which he pioneered, was the forerunner of the English state school system. John and Joan Cooke, founders of The Crypt (grammar) School, are buried at the north end of the high altar.

There is also a tablet for James "Jemmy" Wood (1756-1835), who is buried in the church. He was once reputed to be the richest commoner in Britain, building up his fortune in his Westgate Street bank, one of the oldest in the country, by charging the highest rate of interest he could get. Jemmy Wood's life was such that he is said to be the inspiration for Dickens' character Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol'.

Attached to the church is the original schoolroom for the Crypt School, founded by John & Joan Cooke in 1539. George Whitefield was educated here, and later at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was to meet the Wesley brothers, John and Charles.

Various modern photographs on this page show outside, and inside the church, including the Pulpit where Whitefield preached, and a Fresco high up to the left of the Altar. An old postcard, and a sketch taken from An Original History of the City of Gloucester, by Revd. Thomas Dudley Fosbrooke (1819) show the church when it still retained the tall pinnacles to its tower, which were removed in 1920s. [Sources: John Williams, and Wikipedia articles on George Whitefield and Robert Raikes]


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 SO8307718412. 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 Gloucester, 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.

Information last updated on 29 Nov 2018 at 14:00.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 29 May 2022 - 03:55:11 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:13.

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