Painswick: Roman catholicism

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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'Painswick: Roman catholicism', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 83. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]


The Jerningham family were recusants from the 16th century (fn. 1) and in the mid 18th century members of a family called Lacy, who owned a house in Sheepscombe tithing but probably lived elsewhere, were also recorded as recusants. (fn. 2)

In 1856 a foundation stone was laid at Beeches Green in Painswick parish for a church to serve the Stroud district, where Catholicism was revived in the mid 19th century by a female group of Third Order Dominicans who were hearing mass in a house in London Road, Stroud, from 1850. The church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, was opened in 1857 and comprised nave and north and south aisles built in the Decorated style to designs by Charles Buckler of Oxford. The church was never completed because school buildings were erected on the chancel site but in 1882 the interior was altered to accommodate a sanctuary. Dominican priests served the parish until c. 1940 from which time it has been served by secular clergy. (fn. 3) The average congregation numbered 750 in 1972 when the parish covered a wide area to the north and east of Stroud and the clergy also served a chapel at Stonehouse. (fn. 4) The Dominican nuns were organised on a formal basis and purchased land for a convent at Beeches Green in 1862 when building began to the designs of Benjamin Bucknall. The buildings, in the French chateau style, were extended in 1885, and in 1894 a convent chapel was built to replace the former wooden chapel. The convent, dedicated to St. Rose of Lima, performs educational and social work in the Stroud area. (fn. 5)

In the early 1930s mass was said occasionally in a cottage in Hale Lane, Painswick, which was served by priests from Stroud. A former slaughter-house in Friday Street was converted for use as a chapel in 1935 when mass was said regularly. The chapel, dedicated to St. Theresa of Lisieux, suffered bomb damage in 1941 but was rebuilt to the designs of Peter Falconer and Partners and reopened in 1956. (fn. 6) It was served by a priest from Stroud in 1972 when the congregation numbered 50. (fn. 7)


  • 1. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 104; Glos. R.O., Q/RNc 1/29- 30.
  • 2. Glos. R.O., Q/RNc 2/14, 17.
  • 3. Langston, 'Cath. Missions', i, pp. 111-13.
  • 4. Ex inf. Revd. W. O'Callaghan, parish priest of Stroud.
  • 5. Langston, 'Cath. Missions', i, pp. 114, 118.
  • 6. Ibid. pp. 166-7.
  • 7. Ex inf. the parish priest of Stroud.