Nailsworth: Churches

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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A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. W J Sheils, 'Nailsworth: Churches', A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976), pp. 215-216. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. W J Sheils. "Nailsworth: Churches", in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) 215-216. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Jurica, A R J. Sheils, W J. "Nailsworth: Churches", A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976). 215-216. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,


Although no medieval reference to a chapel has been found, there seems little reason to doubt the 18th-century tradition that a chapel of ease to Avening anciently existed at Nailsworth or that it was the surviving building at Bannut Tree House. (fn. 1) The chapel probably went out of use before the Reformation and Nailsworth then had no place of worship in connection with the established church until 1794, when at the instigation of several prominent inhabitants, led by Jeremiah Day, an episcopal chapel was built by subscription. (fn. 2) The curate, whose income derived from the pew rents, was appointed by the rector of Avening on the nomination of the chapel trustees. (fn. 3) The income, still dependent on pew rents, was under £60 in 1842, and the consequent difficulty in finding curates and the generally unsatisfactory nature of the foundation led to various attempts in the later 19th century to get the chapel consecrated and its finances placed on a firmer footing. In 1875 it was agreed that the Nailsworth chapel and an iron chapel at Inchbrook should be served by one curate, the trustees of each chapel guaranteeing the income, but that arrangement was terminated in 1885. (fn. 4)

In 1892 the patron of Avening, the Revd. E. W. Edwards, offered to make over the tithes of the Nailsworth end of the parish to support the Nailsworth chapel at the next vacancy of Avening; (fn. 5) in view of this and other developments a consolidated chapelry was established in 1895, following closely the boundaries of the urban district and financed, in addition, by subscription and grants from Queen Anne's Bounty. The new living became a perpetual curacy, later called a vicarage, and the patronage was assigned to the bishop. The chapelry was based on All Saints, Shortwood, as the Nailsworth chapel remained unconsecrated, (fn. 6) but a few years later the Nailsworth chapel was demolished to be replaced by a new church, opened and consecrated in 1900. (fn. 7) The incumbent G. M. Scott built himself a house in Avening Road in 1900 and it was bought by the parish for use as the vicarage in 1911. (fn. 8)

Services had been supplied at Shortwood from 1853 by the vicar of Horsley who used the former workhouse (fn. 9) until 1866 when a chapel was built on the site, financed by subscription and grants. (fn. 10) The chapel, dedicated to All Saints, comprised chancel, nave, south porch, and west bellcot and was designed by William Clissold of Stroud. (fn. 11) It continued to be served from Horsley until the formation of the Nailsworth chapelry in 1895. (fn. 12) The iron chapel at Inchbrook was built in 1865 to serve the area around Inchbrook, Forestgreen, and Windsoredge. In 1889 it was served by a curate with an income of £200 and the living was in the gift of four trustees. (fn. 13) Both the Shortwood and Inchbrook chapels remained in use as chapels of ease to Nailsworth church in 1973.

The old chapel of ST. GEORGE (fn. 14) built in 1794 was designed by the local architect Nathaniel Dyer, who gave his services free of charge. (fn. 15) It was in a fairly plain classical style, comprising apsidal chancel, nave, and a small west tower with a 'pepperpot' turret. The interior had a series of galleries, (fn. 16) inserted in the early years of the 19th century. (fn. 17) The new church, built between 1898 and 1900 to the designs of M. H. Medland, comprised aisled nave, north porch, and the base of a south tower which was never completed and became a porch. A chancel and vestries were added in 1938. (fn. 18) The bell from the old chapel, cast by John Rudhall in 1795, (fn. 19) and the clock were housed in a wooden tower adjoining the churchyard until 1952 when they were moved to a new clock-tower in the centre of the town. (fn. 20)


  • 1. G.D.R. vol. 381A, f. 24; Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5; see above, p. 209.
  • 2. Fosbrooke, Glos. i. 405; Glos. R.O., D 2219/6/6.
  • 3. Glos. R.O., P 223/CW 4/1.
  • 4. Ibid. D 2219/6/6.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Lond. Gaz. 8 Feb. 1895, pp. 765-6; Pavey-Smith, Nailsworth, 22-3.
  • 7. Pavey-Smith, Nailsworth, 24; a temporary iron church erected near by was used while the rebuilding was in progress.
  • 8. W.I. hist. of Nailsworth, 55.
  • 9. Hockaday Abs. ccxlvi.
  • 10. M. Rudkin, Hist. of Horsley (Dursley, 1884), 61-2.
  • 11. Verey, Glos. i. 326.
  • 12. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1894), 240.
  • 13. Ibid. (1889), 823.
  • 14. Ibid. (1870), 602.
  • 15. Glos. R.O., D 2219/6/6.
  • 16. Smith, Eccl. Edifices; Glos. R.O., P 223/MI 2/1-2.
  • 17. Glos. R.O., D 2219/6/6.
  • 18. Verey, Glos. i. 326.
  • 19. Glos. Ch. Bells, 57.
  • 20. W.I. hist. of Nailsworth, 43.