We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Osmund, Tarlton, Gloucestershire

(51°41′52″N, 2°3′49″W)
ST 957 999
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Gloucestershire
now Gloucestershire
medieval Worcester
now Gloucester
  • Rita Wood
  • Rita Wood
06 August 2019

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=11941.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


Tarlton is a scattered settlement about 4 miles SE of Stroud and 2 miles NW of Kemble. In its scale and simplicity, the church appears very like just another farm building. It was ‘almost completely reconstructed in lancet style in 1875 after having been used as a farm building for many years’ (Verey 2002). The medieval dedication is unknown; there is no entry in Arnold-Forster. It is a chapel-of-ease to St Peter’s, Rodmarton.

The building has a chancel and a nave, with a small bell-cote on the wall between the two parts. The N and S nave doorways are similar - round-headed, but with a label that is concave inside and out; these labels end in a scrolled form and are all restored. Despite being round-headed, these doorways would not be relevant to the CRSBI. Inside the building, there is a chancel arch and a font.


Merlesweyn, lord of Tarlton and sheriff of Lincolnshire, was left in command of the north by King Harold after the battle of Stamford Bridge, but may have submitted to the Conqueror soon after the coronation; he rebelled in 1068 and was dispossessed (Taylor 1917, 76).

Domesday Book records that Little Tarlton belonged to Ralph Paganel and was held by Roger de Ivry. There seems to have been another Tarlton manor also belonging to Ralph that was mostly in Rodmarton. Tarlton itself was held by William de Ow, his tenant was Herbert, this manor passed to Edward of Salisbury, and in 1142 to the diocese of Salisbury (Thorp, 175-6). "Tornentone" (Tarlton) seems to have had a chapel as early as 1226; it endowed a deacon prebend in Sarum Cathedral and was worth 12 marks (Thorp 1928, 138).


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




The restoration

The windows in the N wall of the nave suggest a 12thc origin for the whole. The narrow chancel arch might perhaps have been the S doorway to the early church – compare the forms of the doorway at Coates, which was retained when the S aisle was added in the13thc.

Small E window

In Gloucestershire at least five chancel E walls that have no window can be found, and there are five more churches that have very small east windows: Elkstone, Edgeworth, Tarlton, Hampnett and Clapton. This seems to be a Norman influence, ‘perhaps they liked it so, as giving more value to the many lights already in use and being endowed’ (Taylor 1927, 10-11).


The font at Tarlton would have been rare as a round (rather than octagonal) product of the 14thc, but it could have been a 12th-c font recut with the pattern later (Fryer 1916, 68, 70; 1928, 319). The font is said to have been brought from Rodmarton; Verey and Brooks date the cutting of the quatrefoils to ‘the early years of the C14’.

  1. F. E. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, III, London 1899.
  1. A. C. Fryer, "Gloucestershire Fonts - Part 8", Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 39 (1916), 67-86.
  1. A. C. Fryer, "Gloucestershire Fonts - (A) Supplement", Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 50 (1928), 319-23.
  1. C. S. Taylor, "The Norman Settlement of Gloucestershire", Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 40 (1917), 57-88.
  1. J. D. Thorp, "History of the Manor of Coates, County Gloucester", Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 50 (1928), 135-274.
  1. D. Verey and A. Brooks, Gloucestershire 1: the Cotswolds, 3rd edition, New Haven 2002, 681-2.