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St Leonard, Bledington, Gloucestershire

(51°54′5″N, 1°38′43″W)
SP 245 226
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Gloucestershire
now Gloucestershire
medieval Worcester
now Gloucester
  • John Wand
08 August 2016

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Bledington lies in a valley in the Cotswolds, four miles SE of Stow-on-the-Wold and six miles SW of Chipping Norton. The church is sited on a rise at the edge of the village. It is built mainly of limestone rubble, with roofs of lead and of Cotswold stone, and comprises a chancel with a Sanctus bell, a clerestoried nave, a S aisle, a S porch, and an embattled W tower occupying the W part of the 12thc nave. There is a squint passage (sometimes referred to as a chantry chapel) connecting the SW corner of the chancel to the S aisle. The church was lavishly rebuilt in the 15thc, and the 15thc painted glass surviving in some of the windows is a notable feature. The church was restored by John Edward Knight Cutts in 1881 and by Frank Ernest Howard around 1923. Romanesque sculpture survives on the chancel arch, the S arcade of the nave and the font.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 and 1086 the manor of 'Bladintun' was among the gifts of Coenwulf of Mercia to the abbey of Winchcombe, and consisted of 7 hides. The earliest record of the church dates to 1175, when the Pope confirmed all the possessions of Winchcombe Abbey. The manor and advowson of the church remained in the ownership of Winchcombe Abbey until the Dissolution.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches






There is some disagreement amongst scholars on to the date of the S arcade: John Edward Knight Cutts (1882), 82, dates it to the 12thc, whilst David Verey and Alan Brooks (1999) to around 1200. There is also disagreement over the bellcote: Cutts (1882), 82, dates it to 12thc without qualification whilst in VCH this dating is questioned. Verey probably provides the best solution, suggesting that the bellcote is 12thc but was moved from the W gable to the E gable of the nave in 15thc, when the tower was built. The distortion to the E side of the piers of the chancel arch could have been caused by settlement due to the additional weight of the bellcote after its repositioning.


Domesday Book. A Complete Translation, ed. by A. Williams and G. H. Martin, London 2003, 455.

D. Verey and A. Brooks, The Buildings of England, Gloucestershire I: the Cotswolds (3rd edition), London 1999, 179-181.

Victoria County History of Gloucestershire, ed. by C. R. Elrington, vol. 6, London 1965, 27-33.

F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, London 1899, III, 55.

J. E. K. Cutts, 'Bledington Church', Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 7 (1882), 81-6.

K. Ashby and N. Brend, The Story of St Leonard's, 1988.