Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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St Denis's Church, Little Compton
St Denis's Church,
Little Compton, 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.

The Victoria County History series: A History of the County of Warwick, Volume 5: Kington Hundred (1949), pp.50-52 (Little Compton) provides the information that manor and church were part of the endowment of the Saxon Priory of Deerhurst, which was given by Edward the Confessor to the abbey of St Denis of Paris. Evidently this explains the church's dedication to St Denis, and its "detached" nature, as part of Gloucestershire!

Though the VCH account suggests a church existed at the time Edward the Confessor, the earliest date cited for the present building is 13th century - tracery in the east window of the chancel, and reused-stonework in its south wall. The saddleback tower dates from the 14th century - the lowest stage originally served as a small chapel. The remainder was rebuilt in 1863-4, and now consists of chancel, a north vestry and organ-chamber, long and narrow nave, a very short south aisle, and a south porch, with the tower in the unusual position of "south of the middle of the nave and west of the aisle", all of local Cotswold stone. The south-east window of the chancel has fragments of 16th- and 17th-century coloured glass from the Church of Villers, destroyed in 1918.

The parish forms "a long narrow strip from the Four Shire Stone on the road from Moreton-in-the-Marsh to Chipping Norton". This is the A44, a former turnpike road from Worcester to London, which runs in a south-easterly direction for about 3 miles just within the parish boundary. In 1535 - "a tribute to the amenities of the district" - the parish was called Compton Floribus 'Compton in the flowers'. Gloucestershire's loss was Warwickshire's gain, as the parish of Little Compton was transferred from Gloucestershire to Warwickshire by the "Counties (Detached Parts)" Act of 1844.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 for St Denis (HO 129/162/2/3/3) was completed on 7th October 1851 by James Vokine, Registrar, from "particulars [which] were kindly given by the Revd. Ts Mellor, Incumbent of Little Compton". The return included an estimate of the congregation on March 30th, for which he remarked that the afternoon had been "very stormy accompanied with much rain which may account for the diminished number of persons at that service" (70, compared with an average of 100).


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 SP2616730291. 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 Little Compton, 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 30 Dec 2014 at 12:16.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 19 Oct 2021 - 22:31:09 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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