St Mary’s church

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Beverston is a small settlement of a few houses around the ruins of a medieval castle and the church.

The church is Norman, although there is a small pre conquest figure of Christ on the south wall above a small Norman window. The original church was built around 1225 when the castle was rebuilt. It had a tower, nave, chancel and south aisle. The chancel and transeptal chapel were added in 1361 when the castle was refortified.

By the 19thC the church had fallen into a poor state of repair. The initial restoration was a disaster as the rood screen was taken out, carvings hacked off the font, frescoes stripped from the walls and a rather unusual roof structure with beams jutting out and hanging bosses.

Later the rood screen was rescued from the Rector’s garden where it had been used as a pergola and returned to its rightful position in the church.

Entry is through the south porch enclosing a wooden door with huge hinges. On either side round columns with carved capitals support a round arches with feather like carving round the outside.

Inside it is a stark church with light streaming in through the plain glass windows and throwing the pale plaster walls and dark roof ribs and dark pews into strong contrast.

The round pillars with carved capitals support transitional pointed arches between nave and side aisle. There is little ornamentation in the church, just a few stone memorials and brass tablets on the walls.

The 15thC rood screen is very dark varnished wood with tall opening doors.The overall sombre effect is relieved by the small gold flowers along the top. The crucifix with the Virgin and St John are newer and made from much paler wood. The stairs to the old rood loft are in the wall behind the stone pulpit.

The chancel is empty apart from a priest’s chair, reading desk, altar rail and simple altar beneath the plain glass east window. The chancel roof is much more traditional, with a few ribs across with gilded bosses.

The small chapel off the north wall has a passageway squint to the chancel. It has a painting of Mary and the Christ Child above an altar.

This is an attractive church and very well cared for. The floor had been washed before we arrived and was still damp. There is nothing special about the church to make you want to visit, but if passing, it is worth popping in to see – if only for that ceiling…

The church is open 9-5 every day. It is just off the A4135 to the west of Tetbury. Ignore the small wooden sign pointing down a muddy track to the church. Instead. take the made road to the castle which also takes you to the church. There is parking by the church.

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