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A Short Guide to the Church
by C Roy Hudleston
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The Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Winterbourne

C Roy Hudleston 1937

C Roy Hudleston was at one time Hon Sec of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society and lived at the Grove, Winterbourne.

drawing of the church by F E Bolt

                  A SHORT GUIDE
                  TO THE CHURCH
             St. Michael the Archangel


                C. ROY HUDLESTON

                 Printed for the 

                  PRICE SIXPENCE
HOW long a church has existed at Winter-
     bourne we do not know. Winterbourne 
     is not separately mentioned in Domesday 
Book, and there is therefore no information as to 
whether a priest was resident in Norman days. 
The oldest parts of the present church belong to 
the middle of the 12th century, the earliest 
features being the priest's doorway (on the south 
side of the Chancel), the south porch doorway 
with its curious semi-circular arch (removed from 
the west end in 1843), the chancel arch, and the 
arch to the chantry chapel under the tower.
  When Willian de Headingdone, rector of 
Winterbourne, resigned the living in 1332, 
owing to old age and blindness, it was ordered 
that he should have a pension of £20, because of 
his " great service in the erection of noble build-
ings and in their defence."
  The 14th-century work in the church is no 
doubt due to this rector, and to the Bradeston 
family, whose ownership of the manor of Winter-
bourne began about 1328 To this family we owe 
the manor chapel (on the north side of the 
chancel) and the chantry chapel (under the tower).
  A gallery formerly stood at the west end of the 
church, but was taken down in 1815, and a larger 
one built, supported on pilasters, portions of 
which are now in the rectory garden. The 
gallery was taken down in 1843, when the church
underwent a severe restoration. The north and 
west walls were taken down, and a window with 
the Berkeley arms in the west wall was removed. 
Part of the south wall was also demolished, as 
well as the pillars supporting the roof of the 
church. The vestry was converted into a south 
porch, and a vestry built at the east end of the 
manor chapel.
  This vestry was taken down in 1880, when the 
present one was built. The chancel was restored 
in 1856. At that time the east wall was re-built 
by the Rev. J. W. Jones, and raised two feet to 
allow of the insertion of a loftier window. This 
was presented by Mrs Jones, in memory of her 
husband's work in the parish--he was for many 
years curate. The reredos was also given by her 
to commemorate his work. There was a further 
restoration of the church in 1880. This will be 
mentioned later. The church was lighted with 
electricity in 1937, the gift of Mr C.W.Buckland, 
rector's warden, in memory of his wife.

  The chief features of the church will now be 
described in alphabetical order.
  Bells. The six bells were cast at Chepstow 
in 1750, repaired and partly re-hung in 1890.
  Chantry Chapel. In 1352 licence was 
to Thomas de Bradeston to alienate 
houses and land and rent to the wardens of the 
Chantry newly made by him at the altar of St. 
Michael in Winterbourne Church. The chantry 
existed until dissolved in 1547, and the residence 
of the Chantry priests was the Wardenage House, 
which, until it was pulled down just over a
century ago, stood where the cottages opposite 
the church now stand.
  The walls of the chantry were decorated with 
paintings, portions of which remain. No doubt 
at the Reformation the paintings were plastered 
over, and it was not until the Rev. A. H. Austen-
Leigh was rector (1875-1890) that they came to 
light again. A figure of St. Michael and the 
dragon, a knight in armour, the Bradeston 
arms, their crest (a boar's head) and roses are 
still to be seen. Unfortunately the east wall, 
against which the altar of St. Michael stood, was 
pulled down in 1894, to make way for the organ 
  Dedication. In 1352 the church is described 
as " the church of St. Mary, Winterbourne." 
It would seem that this dedication was discarded 
in favour of St. Michael the Archangel.
  Font. The font, of unusual design, dates from 
the latter part of the 17th century.
  Manor Chapel. Notice on left of the 
entrance to this chapel traces of the staircase 
which led to the rood loft. On the right hand 
side of the chancel arch are two deep embrasures 
which communicated with the outside of the 
church before the organ chamber (which hides 
many interesting details) was put in in 1894. 
These two embrasures lighted the rood loft and 
the rood altar, the piscina (14th century) of which
still exists. The manor chapel was restored by 
the late Mr William Tanner, and it was again 
restored and re-furnished in 1929 by Miss Tanner 
as a memorial to the Winterbourne men who fell
in the War. For the effigies and brass in this 
chapel see under Monuments. Several lords of the
manor are buried here.
  Monuments. In Sanctuary note heavy monu-
ment to Thomas Symes (d. 1670) and Amy 
(Bridges) his wife (d. 1662). In Manor Chapel 
there are five fine effigies:(i)A lady, circa 1300.
This effigy in 1712 was in the belfry ; whom it 
commemorates is not known. (2) A knight in 
armour and his lady, almost certainly represent-
ing Robert de Bradeston (d. 1355-7) and Isabella
his wife. The lady's feet rest on a lap dog. 
effigies are on a wide table tomb and were 
formerly under the arch between the chapel and 
the chancel. (3) Another knight in armour, 
and his lady, attributed to John de Bradeston 
and his wife. John was younger son of Robert 
mentioned above, and died in 1374. The lady's 
feet rest on two lap dogs, wearing collars of 
bells. One of the dogs has lost its head.
  In the Manor Chapel is also a brass, stated to
be the earliest in Gloucestershire. Dating from 
circa 1370 the brass is believed to represent one
of the Bradeston ladies. The canopy and mar-
ginal inscription are missing. The lady wears 
the veil head-dress, then in fashion. Mr Cecil 
Davis says " her gown ... is peculiar in having 
pocket holes in front and through these is seen 
the cincture (girdle) of the kirtle worn beneath."
  Note also the fine mural monument of James 
Buck, lord of the manor (d. 1612) and other 
monuments to members of this family.
  In the North Aisle in a fine 14th-century recess
is the effigy of a knight on a plain table tomb.
It dates from the middle of the 14th century,
and by the county historians has been described 
as the tomb of William Fokerham, lord of the 
manor of Sturdon, but he died in 1257. Rudge, 
writing in 1803, says: "Stern Court, an old 
ruined building belonged formerly to the family 
of Stern or Hicinstern or Sterten,as it is found on
a tomb in the manorial chancel, one of whom is 
said by tradition to have been a great robber." 
Later he says the monument is in the north aisle, 
and adds " legend is ... that this man had 
sold himself to the devil; and it was among the 
articles of the contract that he was to be carried
to the church, after his death, neither with his 
feet or his head foremost, nor to be buried in 
the church or churchyard ; to cheat the devil . . .
he directed that his body should be carried side-
ways to burial, and that it should be buried in the
wall of the church."
  No documentary evidence is forthcoming 
concerning Hugo de Sturden (as he is sometimes 
called) but legend has it that he eloped with one
of the ladies of Syston Court, and his exploit 
has been immortalised in the ballad " Oh, who 
will o'er the Downs so free." If the effigy 
represents a lord of Sturden, the most likely 
would seem to be Richard de la Riviere, who died
in 1362. In 1328 it was alleged that he and 
several others broke into John de Acton's houses
at Iron Acton and Elkeston and took away 32 
oxen and 6 mares, and felled trees, reaped his
corn, fished his fishponds, etc., so it may be
assumed that Richard was neither above abduc-
tion, nor above selling his soul to the devil.
  Organ. The organ chamber was built and 
a new organ provided in 1894.
  Pews.    The church was re-seated in 1877.
  Pulpit was presented by the late Mr H. W. 
Marsh, of Winterbourne Park in 1877.
  Registers date from 1600.
  Scratch Dial. Twelve feet above south 
  Tower. Early English and Decorated, stands 
in an unusual position, over the south transept. 
It has been re-built. The spire was struck by 
lightning in 1583, and again in 1827. In 1853 
it was found to be unsafe and was taken down 
to within a few courses of the tower and re-built.
The old stones of the steeple may still be seen in
the orchard of Hambrook House. The steeple was 
again restored in 1922.
  Windows. East in memory of Rev. John 
Walker Jones (1785-1862), 30 years curate of 
Winterbourne. North Aisle in memory of the 
men of Winterbourne who fell in the Great War. 
West in memory of William Tanner, a generous 
benefactor to the church. Under belfry to the 
memory of Mrs William Tanner (d, 1853) and 
her daughter. South aisle in memory of members of 
the Marsh family of Winterbourne Park.

[Note.--Much of the information in this guide is 
taken from Mr. C. H. B. Elliot's " Winter-
bourne " (1936), to whom grateful acknowledg-
ment is made].