Stow on the WoldChurch of St Lawrence
High Street
Gloucestershire GL54 2AP 
 
 
Just as Bourton-on-the-Water is not your typical Cotswold village, neither is St Lawrence’s your typical medieval church.  In fact, it is quite modern, dating mainly from the Georgian and Victorian periods.
 
The first thing you notice is its unusual tower, built in 1784, topped by a small lead dome and urns instead of pinnacles.  The base of the tower is rusticated with enormous Ionic pilasters, cornices and balustrades.
 
Inspite of the church’s relatively modern architecture, it has a very interesting history and is a pleasant building to visit.
 
St Lawrence’s is built on the site of a Roman temple and it is recorded that a Saxon church, probably built of wood, occupied the site in 708 AD. In 1110 a Norman-style stone church was built. The only visible remnant of the earlier church is the chancel built in 1328 by Walter de Burhton.  The old stone coffin in the porch may have contained Walter’s remains.
 
Beneath the vestry is a 14th century crypt (not open to the public.)  It is said that a tunnel connects this crypt with the Old Manor House across the High Street.
 
In 1784 the old church was demolished, all except the 14th century chancel, and a new church built on the site to a design by local resident, William Marshall. Perhaps this accounts for the unique design and ornamentation of the tower for no attempt has been made to integrate the new design with the old.  At this time the church was dedicated to St Lawrence.
 
Nave Roof - one the finest in Gloucestershire
The church underwent further rebuilding between the years 1875-91, this time by a more competent architect, Sir Thomas Jackson. He retained the chancel and tower and built a new nave and a north isle.  The king post nave roof is one of the finest in Gloucestershire.
 
The nine-sided chancel roof was painted in 1928.  The heraldic panels consist of a series of shields that record the history of the parish and coats of arms of the patrons of the church and lords of the manor.
 
St George’s chapel contains memorials to those who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars.  The ornate oak screen separating the chancel from the nave is a 20th century addition.
 
The graveyard around the church has many 17th and 18th century headstones.
 
Plan Your Visit
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Open
Daily from 09:00 to 16:00 hours
 
Admission
Free but donations are always welcome.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)1451 820 386
 
Google Map - Church of St Lawrence