Odda’s Chapel

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This has been described as one of the most complete surviving Saxon churches in England. Everyone who visits Deerhurst heads for “St Mary’s Priory Church”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/cotswolds/gloucestershire/gloucestershire_one/deerhurst_mary/index.html . Few bother to visit this, Odda’s Chapel is a lovely setting at the end of the road surrounded by fields and trees. It is a small stone building with stone slab roof supported on huge stone corbels. Behind is a later timber frame farmhouse.

The church was founded in 1056 by Earl Odda in memory of his brother Aelfric. It was in use until C13th when it was left derelict and incorporated into the medieval timber frame farmhouse. The nave was used as a kitchen with a fireplace inserted in the west wall and a window. The chancel had a bedroom added above. The church was only ‘discovered’ in 1865 and is now in the care of English Heritage.

It is a typical Saxon building, tall and narrow. Entry is through a simple Saxon door into what was the nave. This is empty apart from a few old benches. A round Saxon arch leads into the chancel with the remains of the later floor above. On the east wall is a copy of the inscription on the foundation stone.

“Earl Odda ordered this Royal chapel to be built and dedicated in honour of the Holy Trinity for the good of the soul of his brother Aelfric who died in this place. Bishop Ealdred dedicated it on April 12 in the 14th year of the reign of Edward, King of the English”.

There isn’t a lot to see, hence the low star rating. But if visiting St Mary’s Church it is worth spending a few minutes to look at this one as well. It is fully accessible.

The church is open 10-6 in the summer and there is parking opposite. This is a private park and there is an honesty box for the charge of 50p for up to two hours. The River Severn is just across the fields with the Severn Way footpath.

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