A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1968.
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In the 16th century it was said that the town had no other parish church but the west end of the abbey church, (fn. 1) and that appears to have been true from the early 12th century until the 19th. The theory that the cellar under No. 90 Church Street, (fn. 2) at the corner of St. Mary's Lane, is the remains of a Saxon church (fn. 3) derives primarily from the antiquity of the masonry there. A church in Tewkesbury existed at the time of the Conquest, (fn. 4) but the traditions of a monastic foundation before 1102 (fn. 5) are suspect. The name of Theocus the hermit appears to have been deduced in the later Middle Ages from the name of the town, and documentary reference to the place called the hermitage has not been found earlier than the 16th century. (fn. 6) The 8th-century Oddo and Dodo are unsubstantiated. King Beorhtric was buried not at Tewkesbury but at Wareham. (fn. 7) The church of Tewkesbury in the 11th century is likely to have been not a cell of Cranborne but a minster church, (fn. 8) with the endowments of which Robert FitzHamon drew the monks of Cranborne to Tewkesbury. The monks fostered the traditions to lend their house antiquity and distinction, (fn. 9) and although Brictric, the 11th-century lord of Tewkesbury, had possessions at Cranborne the monks' beliefs are the only authority for supposing Brictric to be the grandson of the founder of the monastery at Cranborne. (fn. 10)
From its beginnings the abbey church probably provided a place of worship for the townsmen. The abbey, as owner of the tithes of the parish, may be presumed to have found a parish priest for the townsmen. Roger the chaplain of Tewkesbury, who witnessed deeds c. 1200, (fn. 11) was perhaps such a priest, and there were references to the parochial chaplain of Tewkesbury in 1275, the chaplain of Tewkesbury parish in 1291, and the priest of the parish church of Tewkesbury, one Richard, in 1292. (fn. 12)
Because the parish priests in the Middle Ages had no rectory or vicarage, and were therefore not instituted by the bishops, there is little record of them. In 1242 the Bishop of Worcester was unsuccessful in an attempt to establish a vicarage. (fn. 13) William Golbrond, described as chaplain of the parish in 1407, and Thomas Frankish, described as parish chaplain in 1496, may have filled the same office as John Barnard, parish priest in 1501, and William Skinner, called curate in 1513. (fn. 14) In addition to the parish priest or curate, however, there were in 1532 two stipendiary priests and seven other secular priests in the town. (fn. 15) The parish priest and one stipendiary priest were given lodgings and salaries by the abbey; (fn. 16) other stipendiary priests, whose number fell from five or six in 1540 (fn. 17) to two in 1544 (fn. 18) and one in 1548, (fn. 19) were provided for out of chantry endowments or contributions by the parishioners. Chantries were founded in 1367 by Guy de Bryan, Lord Bryan, (fn. 20) and in 1461 to commemorate Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. (fn. 21) Those chantries were probably distinct from the chantries which later received bequests from the townsmen. In 1497 there were in the parish church (i.e. the western part of the nave), chapels of St. Mary, St. Thomas Becket, and St. John the Baptist; and chapels or chantries of St. George, St. Nicholas, and St. Katharine were recorded in 1502 and 1503. (fn. 22) The three separate chantries of St. Thomas, St. Mary, and St. John (fn. 23) had, by the mid16th century, been merged into one with an income from lands and tenements of £4 16s. 9d. a year, out of which a priest received £4 7s. 9d., and ornaments, goods, plate, and jewels valued at £9 16s. 8d. The chantries of St. George, St. Nicholas, and St. Katharine, which are not recorded at the time, may also have been merged in the combined chantry. A charity called Baldwin's lands also provided £2 a year towards finding a priest. (fn. 24)
The abbey paid a salary of £10 to the curate and £8 to the assistant priest called the secondary, (fn. 25) and those payments, together with payments for bread, wine, wax, and incense, were charged on tithes formerly belonging to the abbey when the Crown leased the tithes in 1569. (fn. 26) The secondary acted as assistant in Tewkesbury and also as chaplain or curate of Tredington chapel, one of the group of medieval chapels, comprising Ashchurch, Bushley (Worcs.), Forthampton, Oxenton, and Tredington, that lay on the abbey estate, were dependent on the abbey church, (fn. 27) and had presumably been founded from it. Although Tredington, being served by the secondary of Tewkesbury, remained dependent longer than the other chapels after the Dissolution, the last man known to have served the office of secondary, Stephen Beard, became curate or vicar of Tewkesbury c. 1555, (fn. 28) and from 1572 Tredington had its own minister. (fn. 29)
The parish priest of Tewkesbury was usually called curate in the late 16th century, minister in the early 17th, and vicar from 1677. The Crown retained the right of appointing the minister, (fn. 30) and the Lord Chancellor was patron in 1964. (fn. 31) The living was a poor one, its only endowment being the £10 a year charged on the tithes until a succession of benefactions raised its value, and in 1650 the borough corporation claimed that for 50 years it had been supporting ministers to preach in the church. (fn. 32) By will dated 1607 Thomas Poulton gave a 20s. rent-charge for the maintenance of a preaching minister, the Crown in 1615 granted a stipend of £4 7s. 6d., and Baptist Hicks, Viscount Campden, by will dated 1629 gave an estate partly for the support of a preacher. William Wakeman, by will dated c. 1681, gave a 10s. rent-charge, for a Good Friday sermon, to the minister. Edwin Skrymsher, on whom the tithes charged with payments to the ministers of Ashchurch, Tewkesbury, and Tredington had devolved, by deed of 1683 gave the tithes in reversion for the support of the minister of Tewkesbury; after the inclosure in 1806 the tithes were represented by 123½ a. in Tredington and Fiddington, subject to annual payments of £86 11s. 5d. Elizabeth Townsend gave the minister £200 which in 1691 was settled by her executors in the form of 15 a. in Greet. Elizabeth Dowdeswell (d. 1723) by will gave £100 for the minister, which was invested in land; and other parcels of land were bought with money given to augment the living. The benefactions of Charles Wynde (d. 1716) included £1 a year for a sermon, and Elizabeth Hopton, by will proved 1732, gave to the minister for six annual sermons land which produced £17 a year in 1828. (fn. 33) The value of the living thus grew to £170 a year in 1789 (fn. 34) and £384 a year gross in 1851. (fn. 35) In the 20th century the living was held with that of Walton Cardiff, and the two were united in 1928; (fn. 36) from 1963 the vicar was also in charge of Tredington with Stoke Orchard. (fn. 37) There was no glebe house until 1827, when the vicarage house in Gloucester Road was built by subscription. (fn. 38) Under a trust deed of 1886 the vicar was given the use of Abbey House as a vicarage. (fn. 39) From 1906 the former vicarage was a private house, (fn. 40) but it remained the official glebe house in 1964.
When the Crown augmented the living in 1615 it also gave an allowance for the rent of an assistant curate's living quarters. (fn. 41) In 1642 there was a preacher in addition to the minister. (fn. 42) The bailiffs of the borough in 1650 procured an order for the augmentation of the minister's income of £50, (fn. 43) but Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, lately M.P. for the borough, said that the minister, John Wells, was not so poorly provided for as had been represented and that the augmentation should go to the assistant or lecturer, George Hopkins. (fn. 44) In the end £25 a year was granted to Wells and £30 to Hopkins. (fn. 45) Hopkins was also Vicar of All Saints', Evesham, (fn. 46) but the borough authorities appear to have liked him better than their own minister: in 1658 Wells made accusations against Hopkins, which were dismissed, and although he was admonished to forget his differences with Hopkins he continued to complain about 'a malignant lecturer put in upon me' and the bailiffs found it necessary to imprison Wells's agent to prevent his molesting Hopkins. (fn. 47) Assistant curates were regularly licensed in the 18th century and early 19th; (fn. 48) in the late 19th century and early 20th there were usually two or three. (fn. 49)
John Geree, who was minister of Tewkesbury in 1628, was a low churchman who was suspended and deprived before 1634. He is thought to have been restored by 1641; it is more probable that he was not the minister but the preacher then. Despite his theological opinions, he was a monarchist and, having removed from Tewkesbury in 1646, died on hearing the news of Charles I's death. (fn. 50) Richard Cooper, minister in 1648, signed the Presbyterian Gloucestershire Ministers' Testimony. (fn. 51) John Wells, mentioned above, was an Independent. (fn. 52) In 1678 the minister, Francis Wells, preaching on the sins of the nation, said the king was guilty of adultery, whoredom, and fornication; the bailiffs, one of whom had interrupted the sermon in an unsuccessful attempt to stop it, reported the matter, (fn. 53) and Wells was suspended. (fn. 54) John Matthews, minister or vicar 1689–1728, was or became unacceptable to the borough corporation but overcame attempts to eject him. The dispute appears to have concerned the readership or lectureship; (fn. 55) Penry Jones, vicar 1729–54, (fn. 56) was also both lecturer and schoolmaster; (fn. 57) and he and the next two vicars also held the living of Tredington. (fn. 58) Doctrinal disputes split the town when Edward Evanson, vicar 1769–77, underwent a long prosecution for his Unitarian leanings; and although the prosecution failed on technical grounds Evanson withdrew from the town in 1775 and left the Church of England in 1778. (fn. 59) Both James Tatersall, vicar 1777–91, and Robert Knight, vicar 1792–1818, were non-resident for part of the time. (fn. 60) Charles White from 1818 to 1845 (fn. 61) and Hemming Robeson from 1877 to 1892 both exercised as Vicar of Tewkesbury an unusually strong influence on local affairs. (fn. 62)
The chapel of the Mythe, beside which the chief messuage stood in the 16th century, (fn. 63) cannot certainly be said to have been a chapel of ease rather than a private oratory. (fn. 64) In 1830 a local writer said that no trace survived of the Mythe chapel. (fn. 65)
In 1837 a new church was built in Oldbury Road and consecrated as HOLY TRINITY church. (fn. 66) The town council opposed the formation of a new ecclesiastical parish in 1849, (fn. 67) and Holy Trinity parish was separated from the parish of the abbey church only in 1893. (fn. 68) The living, a perpetual curacy that continued to be so styled in the mid-20th century, (fn. 69) which was worth £320 in 1870 and £804 net in 1961, was in the gift of trustees. (fn. 70) From 1840 until after the First World War there were assistant curates, (fn. 71) whose salaries were met partly from two charities, producing c. £65 a year, given for that purpose, by John Terrett, by will dated 1852, and by Michael Cray Smart, by will dated 1899. A Scheme of 1932 diverted Terrett's charity to the upkeep of the church, which also benefited from smaller yearly sums under the wills of Louisa Ruddle, dated 1910, and John William Creese, proved 1950. (fn. 72) The church is a tall brick building in the style of the 15th century; it was designed by Ebenezer Trotman, whose father, Daniel, was Baptist minister of Tewkesbury. (fn. 73) It has no tower or spire, and comprises a long nave, a short sanctuary, and a west end formed by a tall arch rising between two turrets and above a narthex, with a two-tiered gallery on the inside. The church acquired a new organ, by Nicholson of Worcester, in 1846, (fn. 74) and was reseated in 1884. (fn. 75) The one bell, by T. Mears of Gloucester, dated 1835, (fn. 76) was replaced by a 20th-century carillon.
The abbey church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN (fn. 79) is one of the most notable Norman churches in England, and has received much attention both from the authors of general works and monographs (fn. 80) and from large numbers of sightseers. Built on a cruciform plan, it comprises an apsidal choir with an ambulatory giving upon a series of polygonal chapels, a nave with north and south aisles, a south transept with an apsidal chapel, a north transept with two chapels, a two-storied north porch, and a central tower. It is built mainly of stone from Caen and is roofed mainly with lead. A high proportion of the fabric survives from the 12th-century building, including the arcades of the nave and the walls above them, the piers of the choir arcade, the transepts, the west front, the porch, and the massive and lofty tower. Some additions to the church were made in the 13th century. In 1178 there was a fire in the conventual buildings and offices; (fn. 81) the church appears not to have been seriously damaged, but the 12th-century masonry in the south transept shows traces of a fire. In the early 14th century the church underwent a thorough process of embellishment, and although it is generally thought that the changes of that period do not blend happily with the original design the 14th-century work is itself only a little less remarkable than that of the 12th century. The 14th-century glass and the medieval monuments are notable features of the church.
The principal changes of the 14th century were the rebuilding of the choir and nave roofs at a lower pitch, the reconstruction of the aisles and ambulatory, and the addition of polygonal chapels and of a Lady Chapel at the east end. The Lady Chapel was demolished in the 16th century, (fn. 82) as was one of the three 13th-century chapels added to the north transept. In other respects the church has remained unaltered in its main outlines since the 14th century. At the Dissolution the whole building was threatened with demolition, (fn. 83) except perhaps the larger part of the nave, which served as the parish church, but it was saved when the bailiffs, burgesses, and commonalty of Tewkesbury received a grant of the building, in 1542, in return for £483 paid to the king. (fn. 84) Repairs were made to the tower in 1599–1600, (fn. 85) to the choir in 1650, (fn. 86) to the church generally in the early 18th century, (fn. 87) and to the choir in 1795–6. (fn. 88) A statement published in 1797 that the church was in bad repair (fn. 89) may have been based on observation before 1795; nevertheless, there was a further restoration in 1828. (fn. 90) A much more thorough and comprehensive restoration was made under Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1876 and 1883. (fn. 91) In 1935 a new body called the Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey, founded by the vicar, Edward Pountney Gough, began the restoration of the tower, and in 1956 the same body launched an appeal fund for extensive restorations that were begun under the direction of J. A. Chatwin. (fn. 92) Endowments for the repair of the church included a house and garden, producing 30s. rent in 1828, given by will by Thomas Cooke c. 1558, £10 capital, from which no interest was received after 1651, given by will by John Roberts (d. 1632), £50 given by will by Elizabeth Dowdeswell (d. 1723) and laid out in land yielding £3 9s. 1d. in 1828, and 1 a. in Avon Ham called the Church Land which produced £1 a year in 1828. (fn. 93) The Cooke, Dowdeswell, and Church Land charities together with those mentioned above of Poulton, Viscount Campden, Wakeman, Townsend, Dowdeswell, Wynde, and Hopton were amalgamated in the Tewkesbury Consolidated Charities in 1881. (fn. 94)
The church was originally built between 1102, when the monks moved from Cranborne to make Tewkesbury their home, (fn. 95) and 1121, when it was consecrated. (fn. 96) It was completed, therefore, shortly before the abbey church of Gloucester, which it resembles both in its original form and in the superimposing of 14th-century work.
Each arcade of the nave has eight arches, supported on tall cylindrical piers with moulded circular bases and capitals. The semi-circular arches are of two orders, the outer one with a roll-moulding, the inner one square-cut, and above each arch the triforium consists of a pair of couplets with rounded arches separated by a massive shaft with a chamfered capital and square abacus. The clerestory was evidently unlit by windows in the 12th century, for on the outside of the north wall is an arcade of small semi-circular arches on half-round pilasters with scalloped capitals, the bays of which do not correspond with the bays of the nave, while the inserted windows, which do so correspond, break the arcade irregularly. The clerestory arcade originally supported the parapet along both sides of the nave and round the transepts, and perhaps round the choir also, for it survives externally on the east wall of both transepts and on the west wall of the south transept. The three-light windows of the clerestory were added in the 14th century when the pitch of the roof was lowered. The ribs of the 14th-century vaulting in the nave spring from corbels immediately above the capitals of the piers and are carried up to intersect at bosses carved with scenes from the life of Christ, with angels, and with symbols. (fn. 97)
The aisles may originally have had quadrant vaulting, such as they retain at the openings to the transepts, but in the 14th century ribbed and pointed vaulting was inserted. At the same time the outer walls were remodelled. The windows are apparently much wider than in the 12th-century design, for the two westernmost of the seven on the north wall of the north aisle lie very close to the porch, which takes slightly more than the width of one bay. Of the seven north windows the easternmost has a higher sill than the rest, and the wall of the two eastern bays is set back, rising from a plinth which is in line with the wall of the six western bays. The two eastern windows are of four, the others of three, lights with tracery, and all except for the westernmost, which is much restored, have dripmoulds with defaced finials and stops. The break in the wall between the second and third bays marks the division, internally, between the parish church and the monks' church: the floor rises by one step towards the east, and the marks on the second pier from the east of each arcade show where steps climbed to the rood-loft above a screen separating the two parts of the church.
The south side of the south aisle abutted the conventual buildings: the three western bays have no windows, and the outside of the wall there show blocked doorways at ground- and first-floor levels, a long shallow recess at first-floor level, and the remains of a corbel-table three courses below the eaves. There are four three-light windows and, in the easternmost bay, one four-light window, all with tracery. Below the four-light window is a doorway to the remains of the 15th-century cloisters: the doorway is flanked and surmounted on the cloisters side by richly ornamented image-niches, and has a fanvaulted soffit; on the inside part of a 12th-century roll-moulded arch with a scalloped capital is visible. The north-east bay of the cloisters, restored, forms a porch, and the decorative panelled stonework of four other bays of the north side of the cloisters and one other bay of the east side survives in the outside walls of south aisle and transept. Whereas the north aisle has a lead roof, with a parapet, the south aisle has a tiled, lean-to roof, and no parapet.
The 12th-century north porch is of two stories separated by an ornamented string-course. The upper story has no window. The outer arch is of two external and four internal orders carried on shafts with moulded bases, scalloped capitals, and abaci. The inner arch has four orders externally on similar shafts and a tympanum of wedged stones stepped back towards the top. The massive doors contain some ancient timber. The inner porch of elaborately carved oak was put up in memory of O. P. WardellYerburgh, vicar 1899–1913. Above the outer arch of the porch is a restored image of the Virgin and Child in a 15th-century canopied niche.
On the west front the great 12th-century arch, rising to the full height of the nave, is one of the notable features of the church. The arch is of seven moulded, external orders, (fn. 98) carried on shafts with scalloped capitals. In 1661 the churchwardens levied a rate for rebuilding the western wall, (fn. 99) but the pointed window, divided by mullions and transoms into 28 lights, with tracery, carries the date 1686. (fn. 100) The wall below the window has a Gothic doorway of about that date, with a carved door dated 1915. There are stair-vices in the supports of the arch. The west windows of the two aisles flank the arch; the southern one has its original rounded inner arch, but both were remodelled, perhaps in the late 17th century, as pointed windows of two lights. Above the arch, the west front is built up as two turrets, rising from two arcaded stories of which the lower one is the arcade of the nave clerestory carried round the west front until, like the upper arcade, it is interrupted by the great arch. Above the arcades the turrets have two recessed stages, the lower ones lit by pairs of round-arched lights, the upper ones by round-arched lights with supporting pillars in the middle of each. The pillars are thought to be preNorman; the conical spires that cap the turrets, with conical pinnacles at the angles, were apparently altered in the 14th century; (fn. 101) and over the great arch a straight parapet replaced the gable of the 12th-century roof of the nave. Even so, the west front retains many of the features, including ornamented strings, of its original design.
The central tower is supported on a crossing of four arches, similar to those of the nave arcade but wider and higher, on pairs of half-round pilasters with scalloped capitals. It rises above the roofs of nave, choir, and transepts in three stages. When it was first built in the early 12th century it was designed to serve as a lantern to the crossing, and the lowest stage is plain on the outside but elaborately arcaded on the inside. (fn. 102) Externally the mark of the former high-pitched roof on each face is flanked by a pair of round-headed windows. The upper stages, which are unornamented on the inside but have elaborate arcading outside, are set back, but project at the angles almost to the level of the faces of the lowest stage. The second stage has an arcade broken on each face by three louvered windows wider than the blind bays of the arcade but forming part of it; the arches have dog-tooth ornament. Between the second and third stage is a band of interlocking arcading. The arcade of the top stage has on each face two pairs of narrow lights, each pair within a wider arch; again, the arches all have dog-tooth ornament, and the blind bays on the recessed faces, where there are no capitals, have the ornament carried down the shafts. The lowest stage was blocked off from the crossing with a vaulted ceiling in the 14th century. The tower had a lead-covered wooden spire or pyramid, reputedly built in the early 12th century, (fn. 103) which fell in 1559. (fn. 104) The churchwardens added battlements, with small turrets at the angles, in 1600, (fn. 105) but the parapets are straight-sided and do not conform to the recessed plan of the stage on which they are built.
The south transept survives nearly in its original, 12th-century form. In the east wall is a semicircular apse, with an arch of a single square-cut order on pairs of pilasters like those of the tower arches. Above the apse is an arched recess, behind which is a chamber over the apse, and above again are the remains of the triforium; chamber and triforium are reached by a 12th-century stair-vice in the southeast angle of the transept. The south wall on the inside consists of two tall, arched recesses; on the outside it abutted the conventual buildings, and there the masonry is rough; there is a small 15thcentury doorway at ground level and a blocked doorway at first-floor level, and higher up two 17thcentury traceried windows of two lights were inserted. The west wall has a 14th-century window of five lights with reticulated tracery and a dripmould with headstops, above the remains of the cloister walling which blocked a small 13th-century doorway with a moulded inner arch.
The north transept originally matched the south transept; in addition, its west and north windows match the corresponding windows in the south transept, and the roofs of both transepts have 14thcentury vaulting. The arch to the demolished apse of the north transept, the doorway to the chamber over it, and the triforium on the east wall survive, together with the stair-vice and the arched recesses of the north wall, but the north transept was changed considerably in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1237 St. Nicholas's chapel was rebuilt out of old materials, (fn. 106) and in 1246 St. Eustace's chapel was built. (fn. 107) Although the names were differently applied in the 20th century, (fn. 108) it is likely that St. Nicholas's chapel was the chapel built on the northern wall of the north transept, and demolished apparently in the 16th century, while St. Eustace's was that built on the eastern wall of St. Nicholas's. The opening from the transept to the demolished chapel, blocked when the chapel was demolished, is an early 13th-century arch, much restored, of four moulded orders externally, and two internally, resting on attached shafts with cusped capitals. Roof-lines on the wall of the transept show that the demolished chapel had a lean-to roof that was changed slightly at least twice. The opening from the demolished chapel to the one on its east was a wide 13th-century arch, which is decayed and of which the lower part is filled with masonry. The moulded arch, retaining fragments of chevron ornament, rests on attached shafts with cusped capitals. It was divided by a slender central column, of which only the upper part and the carved base are visible, and on the west side is flanked by smaller blind arches, with quatrefoils above them. In the north wall of the east chapel are two 13th-century windows with detached shafts and modern tracery. Below the windows is an arcade of rounded trefoil arches with cusped spandrels and capitals from which the shafts have been removed; it appears to have formed sedilia, and there are fragments of similar arcading on the south and east walls of the east chapel and on the remains of the north wall of the demolished chapel, perhaps accounting for the theory that the chapels formed the chapter-house of the abbey. (fn. 109) The east chapel was linked to the choir ambulatory by another chapel in the early 14th century. The arches on each side of the linking chapel, and the two four-light windows in its east wall, are of that date. The windows have modern tracery, like the east window of the 13thcentury chapel which, however, retains most of its detached shafts. The linking chapel has no feature to suggest that it was built before the 14th century, and the apse of the north transept presumably survived until then.
The choir as built in the 12th century is likely to have formed a half-hexagonal apse, with perhaps a semicircular ambulatory. The six cylindrical piers of the choir were originally, it has been suggested, as tall as those of the nave, (fn. 110) and it is thought that they formed part of a colossal order supporting a superior arcade and enclosing main and tribune arches below. (fn. 111) West of the western responds small roundheaded doorways once led from the ambulatory on each side into the choir; the masonry blocking them appears to have been put there soon after the church was built. In the early 14th century the piers of the choir arcade were reduced in height, and a moulded arcade was built on them, springing from shallow moulded capitals. Above the arcade was built a tall clerestory of seven traceried windows, with five or four lights, the tracery of the east window including a large rose. The contemporary painted glass that filled the windows survives almost complete, depicting the Last Judgement and the Coronation of the Virgin (in the east window), Old Testament kings and prophets, and noble benefactors. (fn. 112) Outside, the windows have richly carved canopies, and the walls are braced by flying buttresses, one on each side and two at the east end. The lead roof is surrounded by a pierced stone parapet and supported by embossed lierne vaulting. In the south-east bay of the choir are the remains of three 14th-century sedilia, their rich carving damaged but retaining traces of medieval paint.
The ambulatory vaulting springs from corbels which supported the ambulatory roof in the 12th century, (fn. 113) both on the piers of the choir arcade and at some points on the outer wall where the 12thcentury capitals were not recut. The semicircular openings from the transepts survive, again on paired pilasters like those of the tower arches, and above each opening is a large round window. The vaulting was remade in the early 14th century when the chevet of six polygonal chapels, the rectangular chapel adjoining the north transept, and the Lady Chapel that formed the east end of the church were built. The archway to the demolished Lady Chapel is blocked and contains a three-light 19th-century window. The polygonal chapels have varied windows, but all have tiled roofs and are buttressed; in each the vaulting springs from clustered shafts with moulded capitals, and each has the remains of at least one piscina. The two chapels at the north-east corner form a double chapel, with no wall between them. The westernmost of the three southern chapels, which unlike the others contains much ballflower ornament, is used as a vestry and was evidently the vestry noted in the early 18th century as the former muniment room of the abbey. (fn. 114) One window contains reset fragments of medieval painted glass that had been used to patch the windows of the choir clerestory, (fn. 115) and the door is lined with iron plates reputedly from armour collected after the battle of Tewkesbury.
On either side of the ambulatory, between the piers of the choir arcade and in the openings to the chapels, are ranged the more striking of the funeral monuments of the abbey church. (fn. 116) The founder was reburied in the church in 1241, and in 1397 Abbot Thomas Parker built the memorial chapel, (fn. 117) with fan-vaulted canopy, over his altar-tomb with a slab incised for a brass effigy, within the opening in the middle of the north side of the choir. In the next opening to the east is the elaborately canopied tomb, with effigies, of Hugh, Lord le Despenser (d. 1349), and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1359); in that to the west is the two-tiered chapel, richly carved but much defaced, built by Isabel Beauchamp, Countess of Warwick (d. 1439). Other patrons' tombs are those of Hugh le Despenser the younger (d. 1326), in a recess backing on the south-east side of the choir and defaced; of Edward, Lord le Despenser (d. 1375), a canopied chapel surmounted by the figure of a knight within a turret, on the south side of the choir; and of Guy de Bryan, Lord Bryan (d. 1390), a canopied tomb with effigy on the north side of the ambulatory. Behind the high altar, opposite the opening to the former Lady Chapel, is the vault of Isabel, Duchess of Clarence (d. 1476), which was opened three times in the 18th century for interments, and in 1826 for archaeological examination. (fn. 118) In the floor of the choir is a slab that once had an inlaid brass effigy, attributed to Maud (d. 1315), late wife of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford. There are several 19th-century brass plates for other patrons. On the south side of the ambulatory are the coffin-tomb of Abbot Alan (d. 1202), (fn. 119) with a marble slab inscribed Alanus abba, in a trefoil-headed recess, the coffin-tomb with carved slab, in a later canopied recess with ballflower ornament, attributed to Abbot Robert of Forthampton (d. 1254), and the canopied tomb bearing the initials of Abbot Richard Cheltenham (d. 1509). On the south-east side of the choir is the coffin-tomb thought to be of Abbot John Cotes or Coles (d. 1347) with a slab inscribed Johannes abbas huius loci, in a defaced, once elaborate recess. The richly canopied tomb with emaciated effigy, known as the Wakeman cenotaph, north of the opening to the Lady Chapel, appears to commemorate not Abbot Wakeman but a 15th-century abbot. (fn. 120)
After the battle of Tewkesbury many of the more distinguished dead were buried in the abbey church, including Edward, Prince of Wales, whose remains lie under the central tower. The remains of some so buried were afterwards removed elsewhere. (fn. 121) A fragment of a slab with the effigy of a lector of the mid-13th century is built into the east wall of the north transeptal chapel, behind a wooden altar-piece painted by Thomas Gambier Parry of Highnam (d. 1888). In a recess at the east end of the north aisle are the tomb and effigy of an unknown knight of the mid-14th century. There is a carved recess and unidentified tomb at the east end of the south aisle, and an empty carved recess on the south side of the ambulatory. Apart from the medieval monuments, Ralph Bigland noted 346 separate monuments within the church, some of which are no longer visible. They included the monuments to John Roberts of Fiddington (d. 1632) in the north transept, with a half-length, upright figure, and to Charles Wynde, high bailiff of Tewkesbury (d. 1716), in the south aisle, which includes a portrait bust; (fn. 122) also a floor-slab in the south aisle, largely covered by the stones of a ramp to the higher floorlevel, with the Gothic inscription round the edge Leger de Parr gyt ycy, dyeux de sa alme en eyt merci. On the south side of the crossing a committee of eminent Victorians in 1890 placed a marble monument, with a portrait in relief, to Mrs. Craik (Dinah Maria Mulock), author of John Halifax, Gentleman.
In 1650 the bailiffs of the town provided a new pulpit. (fn. 123) In 1723 the churchwardens were empowered to build pews and to move the reading desk; (fn. 124) in 1795 a new pulpit (fn. 125) was put in the middle of the church under the tower, whence it was moved to the north-east pillar of the tower in 1849. (fn. 126) In 1726 a new stone altar-piece in the Doric style carved by John Ricketts of Cheltenham was fitted; (fn. 127) at the same time, apparently, an altar-slab of blue stone nearly 14 ft. long, (fn. 128) which had been dug out of the ground near the high altar and set up as an altartable in 1627, (fn. 129) was removed from the sanctuary and divided in two to make seats in the porch. Ricketts's altar-piece was removed in 1848, (fn. 130) and the ancient slab restored in 1879. (fn. 131) In 1736 the churchwardens got a faculty to build an organ and gallery between the chancel and nave, (fn. 132) in the position of the medieval rood-screen, and the division at the second pier of the nave arcades (fn. 133) survived until the restoration of 1876-83, separating the part of the church that was pewed from the empty part west of the screen. (fn. 134) Fanny Burney recorded in 1788 that the nave was disfigured by irregular pews, (fn. 135) and another writer in the same year expressed a similar view; (fn. 136) both appear to have been writing of the nave east of the division. In 1795, despite opposition, (fn. 137) new pews and galleries were built to the designs of Edward Edgcumbe of Tewkesbury. (fn. 138) The 18thcentury fittings were removed at the restoration of 1876–83, which among many other things included restoring the long-neglected 15th-century wooden choir-stalls, with swivelling seats decorated with naturalistic designs on the undersides. The font for the removal of which two men were presented in 1661 (fn. 139) may have been the one moved into the vestry in 1828. (fn. 140) The font in use in the mid-19th century was thought to be of the late 16th century. (fn. 141) The surviving font has a modern base and bowl; the shaft is early 14th-century, a cluster of eight shafts separated by strings of ball-flowers with a moulded capital, and it looks as though it was found in the course of excavations. The royal arms hanging in the nave are carved in wood and appear to be of the reign of Charles II. (fn. 142) There are two early 18th-century chandeliers, (fn. 143) in the south apse and the founder's chapel.
The organ for which the gallery was built in 1737 was bought from Magdalen College, Oxford; at the same time the vestry resolved to pay a salary to an organist, (fn. 144) and the organ was opened the same year. (fn. 145) It had been built, possibly by Thomas Dallam or by Thomas Harris, grandfather of Renatus Harris, either c. 1615 or in 1637, and remained at Magdalen College until 1654 when it was given to Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell put it in the Great Hall of Hampton Court, where according to tradition John Milton played it, for which reason it is called the 'Milton organ'. Back at Magdalen, it was rebuilt by Renatus Harris in 1690–1. A swell was added in 1796, and the organ was overhauled and enlarged by Henry Willis in 1848, but much of the 17th-century pipe-work survives. (fn. 146) It was moved to the south side of the choir in 1875, and was given an electric action in 1948; it is played from the keyboard of the organ-gallery on the north side. (fn. 147) A small organ made by Thomas Elliott in 1812 belongs to the abbey church but was for many years on loan to Walton Cardiff church until c. 1963, when it was moved to Prior's Park mission church. A third organ belonging to the abbey church was made in 1885 by Carlton C. Michell and William Thynne, and given to the church in 1887 by the Revd. Charles William Grove. (fn. 148) It stands in the north transept. The singing and music of the abbey church are the object of a trust endowed by Christopher Collins, who by will proved 1920 gave £1,088 stock for the choir, organist, or choirmaster. (fn. 149)
The 15th-century tower north of the church, that later became the town gaol, was formerly a belfry. (fn. 150) By 1612, when the four bells were increased to five, (fn. 151) the bells appear to have been in the central tower of the abbey church. The five bells were recast as six in 1631, (fn. 152) the fifth and sixth were recast in 1679, (fn. 153) and all six were recast as eight by Abraham Rudhall in 1696–7. (fn. 154) Four of them were recast by the Rudhall foundry in 1717, 1725, 1743, and 1796; two were recast by T. Mears, who added a sanctus bell, in 1837, when the whole peal was rehung. (fn. 155) Two bells were added in 1914 and two more in 1934: all 12 were recast in 1962–3. (fn. 156)
The plate belonging to the church includes a chalice and paten-cover given by a Mr. Whittington in 1576, a chalice and cover of 1618 given in that year by Edward Alley, a credence paten also of 1618 given by Richard Dowdeswell and another of 1725 and two alms-plates of 1729 bought with money given by Anne Hancock, a flagon of 1660 given in 1688 by the unmarried men and women of the parish, a flagon of 1723 given by Elizabeth Dowdeswell (d. 1723), (fn. 157) and two large candlesticks and other pieces of silver once belonging to the East India Company and given to the church in 1933. The registers begin in 1559 for baptisms and marriages, in 1595 for burials; there is no register of marriages for 1577–95, and there are gaps in both marriages and burials in the 17th century. (fn. 158)
The churchyard north and north-west of the church was presumably that part of the abbey precinct used by the townspeople for burial up to the 16th century. The land lying next to the church on the south and east was not part of the churchyard as bought by the town from the king: the strip of land along the south side of the church was given to trustees for the benefit of the church in 1883, (fn. 159) and the land encircling the east end, including the site of the Lady Chapel, in 1939. (fn. 160) The site and gardens of Abbey Lawn House, fronting on the Crescent in High Street, were part of the gift of 1939, (fn. 161) which established the Abbey Lawn Trust to improve the abbey and its setting. Abbey Lawn House was demolished in 1964, (fn. 162) and its site thrown into the churchyard. The main path to the north porch of the church was paved in 1750, and Thomas Gage, Viscount Gage, M.P. for the borough, and William Dowdeswell each gave a pair of wrought iron gates. The pair by the church was said to be Lord Gage's, the pair by the street Dowdeswell's, (fn. 163) but in 1964 the pair by the street, which alone survived, as a fine example of its kind, bore the arms, motto, and initial of Lord Gage. In the churchyard is what appears to be the base of an ancient cross, labelled as the preaching cross believed to be that of the hermit Theocus; it may be the stone cross in the churchyard that was mentioned in 1412. (fn. 164)
Only one papist was recorded in 1676, (fn. 165) two in 1715, (fn. 166) and one female papist took the oath of supremacy in 1723. (fn. 167) The chapel of St. Joseph at the Mythe was built in 1870 at the expense of the Marquis de Lys. (fn. 168) It is a low red-brick building incorporating a priest's house, and is in part a conversion of a coach-house that previously stood on the site. (fn. 169)
Tewkesbury has a long history and a strong tradition of religious dissent. Ministers of the parish church with nonconformist inclinations have already been mentioned. (fn. 170) In 1620 some of the burgesses were in trouble about the observance of Sunday. (fn. 171) In 1635 a glover of the town, described as a separatist, was imprisoned by the High Commission for refusing to take an oath. (fn. 172) Humphrey Fox, who had been suspended from serving the cure of Forthampton, lived in Tewkesbury; he was suspected of owning prohibited books and of having doctrinal reasons for sending his sons, Hopewell and Help-on-High, to be educated in Edinburgh; he was a non-communicant, and in 1639 was excommunicated and arrested. (fn. 173) In 1676 three-quarters of the population of the town were returned as Protestant nonconformists, (fn. 174) but it is likely that a large number were occasional conformists. Although some ministers of the parish church had difficulties with their parishioners because their beliefs leaned towards nonconformity there is no evidence of any lasting friction between church and chapel, and since the parish church had been bought from the Crown by the town at large, and was so dominant a feature of the town, most of those who attended dissenting places of worship appear nevertheless to have avoided severing themselves from the parish church. Between 1684 and 1687, when c. 300 people were buried in the churchyard, 29 burials elsewhere of excommunicates and dissenters were certified as burials in woollen. (fn. 175) In 1682 the churchwardens presented three people for preaching in unlawful conventicles in the town, and another 24 for not going to church and frequenting unlawful conventicles. (fn. 176)
The Friends' meeting in Tewkesbury originated perhaps in 1655, when George Fox held a 'great meeting' there. Fox visited the town again in 1660 and 1678. (fn. 177) In 1670 the Friends were using three houses in St. Mary's Lane as a meeting-house, and the site of a barn there as a burial ground. (fn. 178) The meeting was licensed by Quarter Sessions in 1690, (fn. 179) and in 1707 Quakers were numerous enough to be thought worth wooing by a parliamentary candidate. (fn. 180) There were said to be c. 50 Quakers in 1750. (fn. 181) In 1804 the meeting-house in St. Mary's Lane was replaced by a new one in Barton Street, (fn. 182) following an expansion in the number of Quakers, which afterwards began to decline: Moses Goodere, a confectioner who died in 1838, was the last adult male Quaker under the age of 90. (fn. 183) The meetinghouse ceased to be used as such in 1850, (fn. 184) and in 1853 it was being let as a school. (fn. 185) It was sold in 1861, (fn. 186) and became the George Watson Memorial Hall, (fn. 187) which incorporates part of the meetinghouse, a brick building with round-headed windows, of which the old gallery and balustraded galleryfront survive. The old Quaker burial ground in St. Mary's Lane was derelict and overgrown, though still visible, in 1964. It had been replaced by another behind the new meeting-house.
The Baptist community in Tewkesbury also traces its history from 1655, when a deputation from the town attended the meeting at Warwick. (fn. 188) At that period the community met in the old Baptist chapel in the court on the north side of Church Street, which was formed out of three cottages, and there was a burial ground near-by; (fn. 189) the chapel has been out of regular use since 1805, but the central part of it survived in 1964, with 17th-century fittings and library, and although the cottages forming the sides of the chapel had been reconverted as dwellings the gallery fronts, and the gallery itself of the central part, remained in position. The furniture included a 17th-century communion table, an early 18thcentury table from the Seventh-Day Baptist chapel at Natton, in Ashchurch, (fn. 190) a brass chandelier, and an 18th-century pulpit of painted oak. The chapel is reputed to have been built (more probably, altered) in 1690. (fn. 191) In the early 18th century Tewkesbury was the centre of a Baptist congregation of c. 150 under Joseph Price. (fn. 192) The Baptist churches met at Tewkesbury in 1763. (fn. 193) The Baptist congregation living in the parish numbered c. 60 in 1750 (fn. 194) and the whole congregation was c. 350 in 1851; (fn. 195) as with the Friends, a rapid expansion in the late 18th century may have caused the need for the new chapel in Barton Street, which was built in 1805. (fn. 196) By then an apparent split among the local Baptists, recorded in 1773, (fn. 197) had been healed. Daniel Trotman, Baptist minister at Tewkesbury when the new chapel was built, remained there until 1843. (fn. 198) The new chapel was Particular Baptist, (fn. 199) and remained outside the Baptist Union in 1964. (fn. 200) It stands in a small burial ground, is built of brick with a hipped roof of Welsh slates carried on wide eaves, and has round-headed windows to the main floor and to the gallery that runs round three sides. It was licensed for marriages in 1838, (fn. 201) the first being celebrated there in 1840, (fn. 202) and was enlarged in 1839 and 1883 by the addition of school-rooms. (fn. 203) An organ was installed in 1843 (fn. 204) and another in 1930.
The chapel and its services, together with needy members of the sect, were the object of many small charitable endowments which were regulated by Schemes of 1889, 1907, and 1908. The Tewkesbury Baptist Chapel Charities include the gifts of Samuel Rickards by codicil to his will dated 1750, Sarah Perks by gift of 1776, Mary Marlow by will dated 1777, Henry Deykin by will dated 1779, Edward Ransford by deed of 1783, Peter Oakley by will dated 1816, Elizabeth Turner by deed of 1832, Edmund Rudge by deed of 1841, Thomas Caddick by deed of 1844, George Purser by will dated 1844, Hannah Heard by will dated 1845, William Skeavington at an unknown date, William Eaton by gift of 1861, and James Blount Lewis by deed of 1873, which also covered subsidiary gifts by William Edwin Price and James Roberts. To these were added, by 1908, the gifts of Samuel Purser and Isaac Heynes, made respectively in or before 1771 and 1779, and the Baptist chapel at Natton, which had been sold by 1962. The endowments also included cottages off Church Street, and in 1964 the total income was c. £350, spent mostly on repairs. (fn. 205)
Three houses in Tewkesbury were licensed for Congregational worship in 1672. (fn. 206) The year given for the foundation of the Independent chapel, 1690, (fn. 207) appears to derive from the fact of a bequest in 1691 for a dissenting minister, perhaps Presbyterian. (fn. 208) A Presbyterian meeting is recorded as being founded in 1707, (fn. 209) and in 1722 James Warner, Presbyterian minister at Tewkesbury, was the subject of controversy in the papers because of his behaviour towards members of his congregation. (fn. 210) In 1750 there were said to be 100 Presbyterians living in the town, more than of any other nonconformist denomination. The number, however, apparently included the Independents, who were not separately mentioned. (fn. 211) The close relations between the Independents and Presbyterians may have owed something to Philip Doddridge (d. 1751), who more than anyone else in his time attempted to unite dissenting groups (fn. 212) and is said to have been associated with the Independents of Tewkesbury. (fn. 213) In the later 18th century the Presbyterians declined in numbers and c. 1780 they united with the Independents in the chapel built for the Presbyterians in or after 1719. By 1830 the congregation was an Independent one, (fn. 214) which in 1851 numbered c. 450. (fn. 215) Henry Welsford was minister from 1819 to 1869. (fn. 216) The chapel, repewed and improved in 1820, was enlarged and given galleries in 1828, (fn. 217) and further enlarged, with the addition of class-rooms, in 1836 and 1839. (fn. 218) In 1840 it was registered for marriages; (fn. 219) a new organ was installed in 1844 (fn. 220) and replaced with one by Price of Cheltenham in 1907. The Congregational church as it existed in 1964 was a square brick building with large round-headed windows and a hipped roof of Welsh slate behind a parapet. The gallery ran round three sides. Behind the church a burial ground contains some gravestones from which the inscriptions have completely vanished. Gifts to the meeting from Nathaniel Mearson by will dated 1691, Mary Warkman by will dated 1723, and James Pinnock by will dated 1802 have not been traced unless they have become merged with the sums that came to the chapel under the will of Thomas Bevan, dated 1777. (fn. 221) That charity in the 20th century produced c. £5 a year, which went partly to the Congregational minister and partly to poorer members of the chapel. (fn. 222) Part at least of the land beside the burial ground that was given by William Freeman in 1846 for the enlargement of the burial ground or the maintenance of divine worship (fn. 223) was sold, and was represented in the 20th century by £157 stock. Jessie Creese, by will proved 1916, gave £1,579 stock for the benefit of the Congregational minister; George Potter Howell by will proved 1940 gave £250 stock for the general purposes of the chapel. (fn. 224)
George Whitfield visited Tewkesbury in 1739, where he was opposed by the corporation and where he in turn censured the corporation for tolerating horse-races. (fn. 225) He again preached there in 1741. (fn. 226) John Wesley preached there in 1744 and, with four exceptions, every year from 1770 to 1790. In 1774 he preached in the open; in 1775 he found Tewkesbury the liveliest place in the circuit. A new meetinghouse was used in 1777, but ten years later the congregation had grown greatly, and in 1788 and 1790 Wesley said that the house was too small. (fn. 227) The meeting-house at that time was in Tolsey Lane, and the buildings in Guest Lane (later Tolsey Lane) that were registered for dissenting worship in 1746 and 1805 (fn. 228) were presumably Methodist meetinghouses. In 1814 a new Wesleyan chapel was opened in Tolsey Lane on the site of a smaller one. (fn. 229) The Tewkesbury circuit was separated from the Gloucester circuit in 1838, (fn. 230) and in 1851 there was a congregation of c. 260. (fn. 231) The chapel received a new organ in 1842 (fn. 232) and was registered for marriages in 1862. (fn. 233) A new chapel was built in 1878, (fn. 234) a brick building with a Gothic stone front facing the Cross, on the site of the old market hall. (fn. 235) The organ was also built in 1878. The chapel in Tolsey Lane was held in trust under a deed of 1888 as an assembly hall for general nonconformist use, and was sold c. 1950, the proceeds to be used to provide a new hall in or near Tewkesbury. (fn. 236) The chapel survived in 1964, a plain red-brick building with roundheaded windows and a hipped roof of tiles, and was used as a Masonic temple.
A Primitive Methodist preaching room was opened in 1837 (fn. 237) in High Street, but the next year it was converted into a beer-shop. (fn. 238) Meeting-houses of unknown denominations were registered in 1823, in 1828, in 1838 in Bank Alley, (fn. 239) in 1848 in Barton Street, in 1849 in Workhouse Alley off Barton Street, and in 1850 in Church Street. (fn. 240) The Salvation Army Barracks in Nelson Street was founded between 1897 and 1902, (fn. 241) and survived in 1964. The Independent Evangelical chapel, in a temporary building in Prior's Park, was founded in 1953 by the Revd. C. J. Mundell, then travelling secretary of the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel, with the help of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. (fn. 242) The nonconformist academy of Samuel Jones is described below.