St Michael and St Martin’s Church

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This a lovely church in a tiny Gloucestershire village on the River Eastleach and separated from its equally small neighbour, Eastleach Turville by a clapper bridge. In spring the church is surrounded by daffodils and must be a strong contester for the title of the prettiest church in Gloucestershire.

It is a simple church founded in the 12thC. It has grown a bit over the years with chancel added in the 13thC and side aisles in the 14thC. It was reroofed and restored in the 19thC without destroying its character.

It has a sturdy square tower with low pointed stone slab roof. Later a large Decorated style window was added in the base of the west wall. The nave and chancel are long and low with the remains of a small bellcot above the chancel arch. There is a chapel on the north side and a porch on the south. This covers a Roman doorway with a round arch supported by pillars.

Inside it is equally as attractive with whitewashed walls and a wood beam ceiling. Pointed arches lead into the chancel, north chapel and back of the tower. The plain glass windows make the church light and airy.

Opposite the door is a 15thC octagonal font with quatrefoils containing flowers carved round the bowl. The cover is a Victorian addition.The solid wooden pews are Tudor too. Those on the north have solid carved posts on the tops. The pulpit is Jacobean with a small carving at the top of the panels. The lectern stands on a pedestal made from either an Elizabethan table leg or bed post. On the west wall is a benefactor’s board.

The chancel contains a simple altar with gold curtains hanging round the sides. On the south wall is a small piscina. It contains a 1662 chest, old table and lovely carved priest’s chair.

The north chapel has two large Decorated windows which are set in pointed arches with small carved heads and foliage at the base. On the back wall is a screen made from the timbers of the old roof when it was replaced in 1886. Behind would have been the vestry but is now a storage area.

This is a lovely small church. Just across the river is St Andrew’s Church

in Eastleach Turville. The population wasn’t large enough to support two churches, so the livings were merged. St Michael and St Martin’s was declared redundant and is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The trust allows the church to hold a Christmas Carol service by Candlelight.

It is open every day and there is parking on the road outside.

It is also worth visiting St Andrew’s church. Leave the car and walk. It is a lovely walk and only takes a few minutes. Follow the made track through the churchyard to the river bank. Turn left and cross the river by the clapper bridge. Turn right for the church. Return across the road bridge for a circular walk.

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