Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 5 Images Holy Cross Church, Avening (1) (73k) Holy Cross Church, Avening (2) (74k) Holy Cross Church, Avening (3) (80k) Holy Cross Church, Avening (4) (125k) Holy Cross Church, Avening (5) (68k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of John Williams
Holy Cross Church, Avening
Holy Cross Church,
High Street, GL8 8ND,
Avening, 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 1080, and we understand it is still open.

In 1050, Brittric of Avening, then Lord of Gloucester, was sent by Edward the Confessor as his ambassador to Baldwin, Count of Flanders. Whilst he was there, he met a young woman named Matilda, who was later to become the wife of William the Conqueror.

Matilda was enamoured of Brittric, but he rejected her advances. As a consequence, when William became King of England, she persuaded him Brittric should be dispossessed of the manor of Avening, and Brittric was thrown into prison at Worcester - where subsequently he died.

Matilda and William then took over Avening Court for themselves, and whilst they were in residence, superintended the building of a church, which was consecrated 14th September 1080 (Holy Cross Day). It is, however believed to have replaced a site of worship which was much older, since evidence survives to the present day of an ancient burial ground, and of stonework in the north aisle of the church bearing Saxon designs.

Kelly's Directory of 1923 describes it as an ancient cruciform building of stone, of which the tower, the western part of the chancel, the greater part of the nave, the aisle and north porch are Norman; the transepts and the east end of the chancel are 13thC work.

The north transept chapel houses a "curious monument" featuring a kneeling effigy of Sir Henry BRYDGES, dated 1615. Although neither Kelly, nor the plaque on the monument itself mention it, he was in fact a "privateer", robbing rich galleons, but was pardoned by James I. The memorial in our photograph is one of many commemorating the DRIVER family, in the south transept, in this case John Driver, dated 1687.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/338/7/1/1) makes no mention of the church's antiquity, merely stating it was consecrated before 1800. It was however very well attended, having an average congregation over the past 12 months of 155 in the morning, 210 in the afternoon and 135 in the evening; with Sunday School classes in mornings and afternoons, attended by 135 and 140 pupils respectively. There were 226 free sittings and 328 "other" sittings, so there was plenty of room for everyone! The return was completed by John P. Mills, its Curate, and he remarked that "the free sittings are supplied by the (?)Trustees: 1st by giving up the Chancel for Sunday School Children; & 2ndly by paying ?? annually to the owner of the South Transept which is private property".

The parish registers date from 1557. The living in 1923 was a rectory in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester, and had been held since 1920 by the Rev. Oswald Ernest Hayden M.A. of Christ Church, Oxford.

For more information, and an excellent history of the building, and of worship in Avening, see the Church of the Holy Cross, Avening website.


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 ST8796497999. 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 Avening, 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 12 Sep 2018 at 07:50.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 5 Jul 2022 - 23:50:31 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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