Edgeworth: Church

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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'Edgeworth: Church', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 45-46. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp45-46 [accessed 23 April 2024]


Architectural evidence shows that there was a church at Edgeworth by the 11th century and a chaplain was recorded there c. 1220. (fn. 1) The parish priest was styled rector in 1306 (fn. 2) and the living has remained a rectory. Edgeworth living was united with Duntisbourne Abbots in 1928 (fn. 3) but that union was dissolved in 1949 when Edgeworth was united with Miserden. (fn. 4)

The first recorded presentation to the living was made by Robert Walrond in 1271 (fn. 5) but the Helions held the advowson in 1303 and it later descended with their portion of the manor. (fn. 6) At the partition of the estate in 1751 the advowson was granted to Barbara Ridler, (fn. 7) and it remained with the owners of that part until 1830 when Edward Colston Greville devised it to his son Charles. (fn. 8) Charles sold the advowson to Thomas Erskine May, the Revd. Philip Jacob, and the Revd. Bryan Fausett in 1854. May and Jacob sold the advowson in 1864 to the Revd. G. F. E. Shaw who secured his own presentation and sold it to Arthur James in 1898. (fn. 9) It remained in the James family until they sold the manor, when it passed to the Diocesan Board of Patronage (fn. 10) who exchanged it for the advowson of Winstone with Mrs. Sinclair of Miserden Park in 1949. (fn. 11) She remained patron in 1971.

In the late 11th or early 12th century Hugh de Lacy made a grant of the demesne tithes at Edgeworth to Gloucester Abbey (fn. 12) which transferred them to the Priory of St. Guthlac at Hereford, the owner in 1535. (fn. 13) After the Dissolution John Price was granted the priory's portion of the tithes, (fn. 14) receiving it in the form of a pension which he held at his death in 1555. (fn. 15) The pension is not recorded later and seems to have been discontinued. Tithes were paid in kind in the early 18th century and there was a levy of 2d. on all persons under 16 years of age in the parish. (fn. 16) The tithes were commuted for a corn rent-charge of £265 in 1839. (fn. 17) In 1680 the rectorial glebe comprised a dwelling-house and c. 50 a., 14 a. of which were pasture and the rest in the open fields. By 1807 the glebe was extended at 42 a. (fn. 18) The church was valued at £6 6s. 8d. in 1291 (fn. 19) and £7 12s. 4d. in 1535. (fn. 20) It was worth £50 in 1650 (fn. 21) and had doubled in value by 1750; (fn. 22) in 1856 it was valued at £244. (fn. 23)

In 1635 the parsonage house was described as having two bays with a kitchen of a further 1½ bay. That house was presumably replaced by 1807 when the house was in good repair, (fn. 24) although it was not large enough for the rector who had 10 children and was living in the manor-house in 1810. (fn. 25) The house, of coursed rubble, was considerably enlarged in 1862 by Waller & Fulljames of Gloucester. A south crosswing was added and the west front remodelled to incorporate a schoolroom. (fn. 26) The house ceased to be used as a rectory in the 1930s and was a private residence in 1971. (fn. 27)

Of the medieval incumbents of Edgeworth two were members of the Helion family, Thomas Helion, rector 1303-32, and John Helion who was presented in 1338. (fn. 28) Little is known of the other medieval rectors beyond their names; during 1417 and 1418 the Crown presented five rectors to the living in succession. (fn. 29) Richard Hill, who was rector from before 1540 to 1556, was found to be a competent minister, (fn. 30) but his successor Edward Lysterley was said in 1576 to neglect preaching and the homilies and failed to instruct the youth of the parish. (fn. 31) John Ward, rector in 1584, was neither a graduate nor a preacher. (fn. 32) Nathaniel Capel, rector from 1661 to 1684, had the assistance of a relative, Richard Capel, as curate. He was succeeded as rector by Thomas Ridler of the family which owned the manor. Edward Loggin Griffin, rector 1707-29, held Edgeworth in plurality with Driffield from 1711, and with Uley from 1724. He was succeeded by another member of the Ridler family, Samuel Ridler, rector 1729-65, who was also a pluralist, holding Edgeworth with the rectory of Cranham from 1739. (fn. 33) His successor was Richard Brereton, husband of Barbara Ridler, who presented himself to the living in 1765 (fn. 34) when it was served by a curate. (fn. 35) Brereton resided at Wotton near Gloucester in 1784 when Edgeworth was served by a curate. (fn. 36) His successor was Anthony Freston, rector 1801-19, a poet who also published sermons and essays on ecclesiastical subjects. (fn. 37) Henry Prowse Jones, rector 1820-60, was assisted by Thomas Freston, a son of the previous incumbent. In 1837 Jones was licensed to hold Edgeworth in plurality with Berkeley and in 1840 to hold it with Hazleton. (fn. 38) Frank James of the family which owned the manor was rector from 1909 until 1933. (fn. 39)

The church of ST. MARY (fn. 40) is built of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings and comprises chancel, nave with south porch, and west tower. The earliest part of the building, the west part of the nave, dates from the 11th century and incorporates a north doorway, now blocked. The nave was extended eastwards in the late 12th century when the chancel, which has a corbel-table supported on animal-head brackets, was built and the south doorway renewed. (fn. 41) Additional windows were inserted in the nave and chancel early in the 13th century when the porch was added. During the 14th century two further windows were inserted in the east end of the nave, probably at the same time as the chancel arch was restored. At the same period stained glass, depicting an archbishop or bishop, was inserted in an earlier window. (fn. 42) The tower was also built in the 14th century, and in the 15th century a rood-stair was inserted. In the late 16th century a pair of new windows was put in the south wall of the nave. The chancel roof was replaced in the early 18th century by the rector, Edward Griffin, who sued his predecessor, William Deighton, on account of the dilapidations. (fn. 43) A restoration carried out in the 1870s by the rector, George Shaw, and the lord of the manor, Henry Sperling, (fn. 44) considerably altered the appearance of the church. The chancel windows were given cinquefoil interior arches as were the piscina and sedile, a rood-screen was inserted and the old stair reopened, a stone chancel-rail was added, the interior walls were scraped and pointed, and the south porch was restored in 14th-century style.

In the west part of the nave are some trefoilheaded 15th-century bench ends and others in the church have been copied from the design. The font, which has an octagonal bowl with quatrefoil panels and a shortened stem, and the piscina in the nave also date from the 15th century. The ring of five bells cast by Abraham Rudhall in 1716 (fn. 45) was replaced in 1895 by another ring of five cast by Mears & Stainbank. (fn. 46) The church plate includes a silver-gilt chalice, paten, and flagon made in 1773, (fn. 47) and the silver altar ornaments were made in the early 20th century by Arthur James, the lord of the manor. (fn. 48) The parish registers begin in 1555. (fn. 49)

In the churchyard is the round base, shaft, and rounded head of a 15th-century cross. (fn. 50) At the north west corner of the churchyard away from the road a lychgate, erected in memory of the Revd. B. Fausett, marks the entrance used by the villagers who walked to church by a path across the fields. (fn. 51)


  • 1. Cirencester Cart. i, p. 287.
  • 2. Reg. Ginsborough, 156.
  • 3. Lond. Gaz. 8 May 1928, pp. 3228-9.
  • 4. Glouc. Dioc. Yr. Bk. (1971), 22.
  • 5. Reg. Giffard, 47.
  • 6. Reg. Ginsborough, 117; Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Hemenhale, f. 18; Reg. Sede Vacante, 209.
  • 7. Glos. R. O., D 1801/12.
  • 8. Ibid. 13.
  • 9. Ibid. 16.
  • 10. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1939), 163.
  • 11. Glouc. Dioc. Yr. Bk. (1948-9), 52-3; (1949-50), 30-1.
  • 12. Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. ii, App., no. xv.
  • 13. Valor. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 420.
  • 14. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 635.
  • 15. C 142/105 no. 83.
  • 16. G.D.R., V 5/124T 9.
  • 17. G.D.R., T 1/75.
  • 18. G.D.R., V 5/124T 4, 10.
  • 19. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 221.
  • 20. Valor. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 497.
  • 21. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 93.
  • 22. G.D.R. vol. 381A, f. 26.
  • 23. G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 91.
  • 24. G.D.R., V 5/124T 2, 10.
  • 25. Hockaday Abs. cxci.
  • 26. Glos. R.O., D 1381, plans of Edgeworth rectory.
  • 27. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 28. Reg. Ginsborough, 117; Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Orleton, ii, ff. 47v.-8; Reg. Hemenhale, f. 18.
  • 29. Cal. Pat. 1416-22, 115, 133, 136, 169, 174.
  • 30. Hockaday Abs. xxviii, 1540 visit. f. 48; cxci; E.H.R. xix. 114.
  • 31. G.D.R. vol. 40, f. 191v.
  • 32. Hockaday Abs. xlix, state of clergy 1584, f. 32.
  • 33. Hockaday Abs. cxci.
  • 34. G.D.R. vol. 382, f. 34.
  • 35. Hockaday Abs. cxci.
  • 36. G.D.R. vol. 319.
  • 37. D.N.B.
  • 38. Hockaday Abs. cxci.
  • 39. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1919), 152; inscr. on gravestone.
  • 40. Rudder, Glos. 437. In 1735 it was said to be dedicated to St. John the Evangelist: G.D.R. vol. 285B, f. 18.
  • 41. H. M. & J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture (Cambridge, 1968), i, p. 227.
  • 42. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlvii. 312, illustrated fig. 33.
  • 43. E 134/10 Anne East./7.
  • 44. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1879), 641.
  • 45. Glos. Ch. Bells, 46.
  • 46. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlii. 175.
  • 47. Glos. Ch. Plate, 78.
  • 48. Inscr. on candlesticks and cross.
  • 49. B. & G. Par. Recs. 134.
  • 50. C. Pooley, Old Crosses of Glos. (1868), 75.
  • 51. Inscr. on lychgate; cf. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XLII. SE. (1884 edn.).