Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 7 Images St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (1) (71k) St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (2) (75k) St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (3) (79k) St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (4) (181k) St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (5) (108k) St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (6) (204k) St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester (7) (100k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard/John Williams
St Lawrence's Church, Barnwood, Gloucester
St Lawrence's Church,
32 Church Lane, GL4 3JB,
Barnwood, 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 the 12th century, and we understand it is still open.

St Lawrence's church dates from the Norman era, and - in Arthur Mee's time (1950s) was approached by "a grand avenue of elms". It is difficult to imagine now that elms were once grand trees as sadly most of them today are subject to Dutch Elm Disease. Those at Barnwood were no exception, and have now been replaced by an equally grand avenue of flowering cherry trees. Their pretty pink blossom lines the avenue in spring, and the road and pavements are thick with petals, when they fall.

The church's most distinctive architectural feature is its sanctus bellcote, a "double", with a pair of bell openings, balanced on the east end of the nave roof. Before the Reformation, the Sanctus bell was tolled during Masses to let the congregation know that it was time for Elevation of the Host. This probably means that the bellcote pre-dates that time.

"In the parish church the redemption of the world was re-enacted every Sunday through the mystery of the Mass. This was the moment when the whole parish came together, kneeling and raising their eyes in adoration at the sound of the sacring bell... to see the elevated Host was in itself a blessing".

The custom of Elevating the Host originated in France in the early 13th century, becoming adopted gradually by the Medieval Church in England, but abolished following the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer in 1549.

The tower was added in 1514 for Abbot PARKER, the last abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter, Gloucester, and bears the date, and arms of its builder.

Our photograph of the interior shows a sculpture of Christ in Majesty created by Darsie Rawlins in 1966 from fibre glass. Compare this with the next image - an illustration of the interior from Braddon's Parish Churches, published in 1848.

Other photographs show two 'time tellers' on an exterior wall, believed to be medieval "mass dials". The hole in the centre would have been filled with a wooden peg (known as a "gnomon"), which cast a shadow when the sun was shining, the "spokes" on its path indicating significant times of the day, usually the hours of liturgical service. The earliest examples of this type of sundial are believed to date from Saxon times, the design being later refined, and possibly superseded, to become the more easily recognisable type of sundial. Certainly, by the 16th century Reformation, "mass dials" would no longer be appropriate, and of course, by that time mechanical clocks, first introduced in the 14th century, had made their appearance.

Also photographed are the two Listed table-top tombs in the Churchyard, of late 17th or early 18th century date; and of course the Church itself, which is also a Listed Building. [Sources: John Williams, Arthur Mee's The King's England series for Gloucestershire, A Little History of the English Country Church (Roy Strong, 2007), and an article Medieval Mass Dials Decoded, by Peter T.J. Rumley, on the Building Conservation 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 SO8584917751. 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 Barnwood, 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 13 Nov 2018 at 15:29.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 3 Jul 2022 - 18:56:56 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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