Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 6 Images St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield (1) (69k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield (2) (69k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield (3) (120k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield (4) (84k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield (5) (94k) St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield (6) (79k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard/John Williams
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Hewelsfield
St Mary Magdalene's Church,
Church Road,
Hewelsfield, 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 records:

"The church of St Mary Magdalene, standing on an elevation of about 660 feet above the river, is an ancient building of stone of the Norman period, consisting of chancel, north transept or Gough chapel erected in 1558, nave of five bays, north aisle, south porch and a central tower containing five bells: there are sittings for 164 persons; the churchyard, entered by a lych gate, contains a venerable yew tree."

The most notable aspect of the church is the steep roof to the nave, which extends outwards over the north aisle, and south porch, and almost reaches the ground, giving it a decidedly "chalet-like" appearance. The roof covers the earliest parts of the church building - west, and south walls of the nave, and the north aisle, which date from the 12th century. However, the church itself is set atop a raised flat-topped circular mound, from which one might infer its site, and burial ground have pre-Christian origins.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/576/3/5/1) for St Mary Magdalene's Church, in the parish of Hewelsfield, and Superintendent Registrar's District of Chepstow records at that time there were only 20 sittings which were free, in comparison with 121 which were paid for. Nevertheless "about 60" attended morning service on 30 Mar 1851, and "between 50 & 60" Sunday Scholars. The Incumbent, Charles Taylor remarked that there is only alternate Service in this Church [and] on the 30th March there was morning Service. The afternoon averages between 200 & 300". He gave his address as "Hewelsfield, Nr. Coleford, Gloucestershire", describing himself as "Vicar of the above named Chapelry" - it was, from about 1166, a chapelry of Lydney, becoming a separate living "in or shortly before 1855", so just after the Rev. Taylor had filled in his return. [Source: the Victoria County History series: A History of the County of Gloucester, Volume 5: Bledisloe Hundred, St Briavels Hundred, The Forest of Dean (1996), pp.150-159) (Hewelsfield and Brockweir)]


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 SO5676302130. 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 Hewelsfield, 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 Aug 2018 at 09:17.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 17 May 2022 - 02:38:18 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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