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St Mary, Great Witcombe, Gloucestershire

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Feature Sets (3)

Description

Great Witcombe is a small rural parish lying in the Severn plain at the bottom of the Cotswold scarp about 9 km SSW of Cheltenham. It is best known for the large high status Roman villa discovered in 1818 and now in the care of English Heritage. The church of St Mary is situated on a level site in the centre of the small village. The building consists of a late 12thc nave and chancel built with squared and dressed limestone, a N aisle added in the 15thc, and W tower rebuilt in the 18thc. The chancel arch is Romanesque and there are Romanesque sculptural fragments incorporated in the S wall of the chancel.

History

The manor is not recorded in Domesday Book, and little seems to be known about the medieval history of the settlement.

Features

Exterior Features

Other

Reset fragment

It is found on the exterior S wall of chancel, below SW chancel window, approximately 1m above ground. It is rectangular and decorated with a diaper pattern.

Dimensions
Height 0.18m
Width 0.22m

Reset fragment

It is found on the exterior S wall of chancel, between priest's door and SW chancel window, approximately 1.7m above ground. It is rectangular and decorated with a diaper pattern. 

Dimensions
Height 0.23m
Width 0.26m

Interior Features

Arches

Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Slightly depressed round-headed chancel arch of one order on the E face of arch and two orders on the W face, featuring plain inner arch and a double band of chevron moulding on the outer arch rising from engaged nook shafts.

E face, first order

Plain, square jambs and arch.

W face, first order

Plain, square jambs and arch.

W face, second order

N and S jambs have an engaged nook shaft with cushioned base and double scalloped capital. Hollow chamfered impost. In the arch, two rows of centrifugal frontal chevrons, roll/hollow, on the face. Chamfered label

Comments/Opinions

The Historic England listing suggests that the fragments of 12thc sculpture incorporated in the S chancel wall might indicate that it has been partially rebuilt. The aisle is set at a slight angle to the nave so as to accommodate the passageway between the chancel and the aisle. 

Bibliography

  • D. Verey, The Buildings of England. Gloucestershire. The Vale and Forest of Dean. London 1970, 256-257.

  • Historic England Listed Building 1091745.

  • F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications. London 1899, III, 303.    

Church from NW
Plan of church

Location

Site Location
Great Witcombe
National Grid Reference
SO 911 148 
Boundaries
now: Gloucestershire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Gloucestershire
Diocese
medieval: Worcester
now: Gloucester
Dedication
now: St Mary
medieval: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
John Wand 
Visit Date
08 June 2015