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St James, Colesbourne, Gloucestershire

(51°49′9″N, 1°59′44″W)
SP 004 134
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Gloucestershire
now Gloucestershire
medieval Worcester
now Gloucester
  • John Wand
26 June 2018, 21 May 2015

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Feature Sets

Colesbourne is a small Cotswold village some 7 miles SW of Cheltenham. The church, which is built of rubble with an ashlar tower and stone tile roof, is situated on sloping ground on the edge of the current settlement. It consists of a nave with transeptal chapels, chancel, south porch and west tower. Whilst the nave probably dates from the 12thc., the only Romanesque features are the jambs of the chancel arch.


The earliest reference to the church occurs in a deed of Walter of Gloucester, datable to 1095. According to this deed, Walter granted two thirds of the tithes of Colesbourne church to the church of St Owen in Gloucester (Walker 1964). The presentation to the church appears to have belonged to the Loholt family, knightly followers of the earls of Hereford. Ellis Loholt is the earliest attested member of the family to hold lands in Colesbourne. By the early 1140s, Ellis appears to have been the principal lord of the manor. His descendant, Walter Loholt, granted the presentation of Colesbourne church to the Augustinian canons of Lanthony in the mid-1240s (VCH Gloucestershire).


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Since the church remained in the possession of the Loholt family throughout the 12thc., it was presumablythis family who was responsible for the construction of the 12thc. church. The only surviving fragments of this church, the jambs of the chancel arch, thus constitute important evidence of their investment. The most likely patrons and builders of the church were either Ellis Loholt, who was active in the mid-12thc., or his son, Walter Loholt.


Historic England Building listing 1341787.

D. Verey and A. Brooks. The Buildings of England, Gloucestershire I: the Cotswolds (3rd edition) London, 1999, 294-295.

A.Williams and G.H. Martin (ed.) Domesday Book. A Complete Translation London, 2003, 452.

N.M. Herbert, (ed). 'Parishes: Colesbourne' Victoria County History of Gloucestershire, Vol 7, London, 1981, 183-192.

D. Walker, 'Charters of the Earls of Hereford, 1095--1291', Camden Miscellany XXII, Camden Society, 4th ser. 1, London, 1964.