Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 2 Images St Mary the Virgin's Church, Lydney (1) St Mary the Virgin's Church, Lydney (2) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard
St Mary the Virgin's Church, Lydney
St Mary the Virgin's Church,
Church Road, GL15 5TL,
Lydney, 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 Church of St Mary is a Grade I Listed Building. Many Monuments in its Churchyard are also Listed, for which see the British Listed Buildings website. The earliest parts of the existing building are 13th century, but 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.46-84 (Lydney) mentions that the church at Lydney was recorded in the mid 12th century, and built to serve a wide area on the south side of the Forest of Dean. Churches at Hewelsfield and St Briavels were chapels to it until the mid 19th century, and Aylburton remained annexed as a chapelry. Lancaut also, in the mid 16th century only, was also said to be a chapel to Lydney. Then, as now, it was an important centre.

The return for St Mary's to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/576/3/3/6) records the church had free "kneelings" for just 30 worshippers, with 324 "other" "kneelings" in the Nave and aisles, "the Teach[e]rs and children are in the Chancel crowded". On March 30th there was an estimated 280 worshippers at morning service, and 211 in the evening (at 6 oclock), with 122 Sunday Scholars to the morning class. The return was completed by Charles Taylor, its Vicar, of "Lidney, Gloucester", to which he appended the following remarks relating to attendance: "The Children assemble in the Schools Morning and afternoon on Sundays, but many of them live at distant parts of the Parish and only attend Church in the morning... We want 500£ to repew the Church and we should have double the number in the congregation if you will send us the required... The present pews are awkward double exclusive pews" <p> Evidently, Rev. Taylor got his wish, as Kelly's Directory of 1923 notes that there were then 600 sittings. St Mary's is described as "a large edifice of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of five bays, aisles, north and south porches and an embattled western tower containing clock and 8 bells". In 1896, a portion of the spire was blown down, and again rebuilt, at a cost of about £1,000. The east window of the south aisle represents the period of transition from the Early English to the Decorated, and two windows in the north and south aisles are Perpendicular insertions. The chantry at the end of the north aisle was the chapel of the Holy Cross, and endowed by John Chardborough and his wife, and John Stevens and his wife in 1375; subsequently it became the private chapel of the Bathhurst family. Most of the windows are memorials, including one to the men connected with the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918, and one, erected by his parents, to Harry Richards, who was amongst those who fell.

Since then further extensive alterations and improvements were made in the interior, including the erection of an oak screen, the panels of which are filled with oil paintings. There are also other oak screens including between the chancel and the nave. In 1923, the living was a vicarage, with the tithing of Aylburton annexed, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford, and held since 1893 by the Rev. John Charles Eldridge Besant M.A. of Christ Church, Oxford, and surrogate.

There is an ancient 14th century cross at the top of Church Street, at its junction with the High Street. It was restored in 1878 in memory of the Rev. W.H. Bathurst, of Lydney Park, by his children.

Lydney was in 1923 in the rural deanery of South Forest and archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester. There was a station on the Great Western railway, and two stations on the Severn and Wye railway, which belonged to the Great Western and Midland Railway Cos. Lydney Dock, about a mile distant from the town, was the principal shipping place for the Forest of Dean coal. There were eight tips, and steamers and vessels up to 700 tons burden were loaded here. The principal exports were coal, stone and tinplates, imports pit wood, steel bars, road stone and general merchandise. The width of the outer harbour gates was 34 feet.

There may be more information available by by selecting one or more of the accompanying images on the right.


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 SO6331902522. 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 Lydney, 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 08:21.

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This Report was created 17 Aug 2022 - 18:00:41 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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