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Guide to St Michael's Church
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"A Guide to Winterbourne Church"

The guide book is continuous on this one page but you can fast-track here:

Introduction | Early History | Winterbourne Court | Churchwardens Accounts | Churchyard | Old Graveyard | The Tower and its Spires | The Bells | The Chancel (outside) | Inside the Church | South Porch | Restoration Work of 1843 | The West End | The Chantry Chapel | The Chancel | Manor or Memorial Chapel (Manor Room) | Pulpit | North Aisle | Stained Glass Windows | Clock mechanism | Winterbourne Parish Registers | Rectors of Winterbourne | Bibliography

cover illustration by Samuel Loxton The cover illustration of Winterbourne Church by Samuel Loxton is reproduced from his original drawing by kind permission of the County Reference Library, Bristol.

Brief church guides were produced in 1905, 1937 and 1979. This is the first comprehensive guide book to St Michael's Church. The authors have drawn heavily on all the works listed in the bibliography, and acknowledge grateful thanks to all those authors, past and present.
John Kite and Jo Marsh, October 1987.
First Revision: April 1997
First Revision for on-line web version: June 2001
Second Revision for on-line web version: December 2007

Plan of church.

Plan of church.
This plan was surveyed by Steve Smith in 1988.

Guide book index


"The organisation of the Church as it is today took place long ago. In 669, the country was largely in the "missionary stage" with considerable districts largely unevangelised. Bishops ruled over vast territories. For some time the diocese was the only unit of administration which the bishop served from a central cathedral town by means of a group of priests known as his familia, who went out to baptise, teach and visit in the remoter districts.

With dioceses so vast, it was sometimes found convenient to divide the territory up, and, while the bishop, controlled the whole area, to plant other familiae in the more important centres of population. These were known as "minsters" and were the origin of the collegiate churches, served by a group of secular canons, which played an important part in the later Middle Ages.

The parish, with its Church and resident priest, owes its origin almost entirely to the initiative of the local landlords. As the manorial system developed, it was natural that each manor should wish to have its own church and its own minister, The earliest parish churches were, therefore, private churches owned by the local thegns who had built them, endowed them out of their own land, and assumed the right to choose the men who should serve them.

The village priest was very much his lord's "man" and subject to his authority and jurisdiction. But he was not a serf, he was a free man, exempt from labour dues and endowed with his own land. His only duty with the community, apart from his spiritual functions, was that he normally kept the bull and boar which served his parishioners beasts!

The parish priest was, in fact, a small freeholder living upon his glebe which he normally tilled himself. As a member of the manorial community he owed allegiance to his lord, while as a servant of the church he also took his oath to the bishop. This latter was often of great service to him. "No man can serve two masters" but there is something to be said for having two overlords, for the one can often be invoked for protection against any injustice on the part of the other. If the parish priest had been merely the nominee of the lay lord his position would often have been most precarious. As it was, not only did he require nomination by his patron, he needed also the bishop's institution and induction before he could enter upon his benefice. And once he had established himself by this double entry it became extremely difficult to dislodge him.

In addition to his glebe, which was generally reckoned as twice that of the villein, the parish priest could claim from his people certain dues. But his most important source of revenue apart from the glebe was in tithe - the right to collect one-tenth of all produce whether of the land or of beasts. At first, tithe had been a voluntary gift on the part of the faithful, but it was too valuable a source of revenue to be treated so casually, and the Church did its utmost to make it a compulsory tax upon all, although this was not achieved in England until the tenth century.

In the eighth century the parochial system was only struggling into existence, and it must have taken many years to reach completion. But already the principles were being laid down which have governed the life of the Church to this day, and some of the boundaries were being drawn which are still in force after twelve centuries."

from "History of the Church in England" by J R H Moorman, published by A and C Black, London and reprinted here by kind permission.


Visitors are often surprised that Winterbourne Church is so far from the present-day village. It has been suggested that there was a village around the church in earlier times which for some reason moved away[1] but although the site of the Church may have been near to a prehistoric village position[2] there is no evidence of any large village settlement around the Church at any time in its history. Aerial photography can often detect traces of ancient settlements. The RAF undertook photographic sorties over Winterbourne in 1946 and 1963 but no evidence can be seen.

This area was part of the Great Kingswood Forest which covered an area of over 200 square miles and stretched from the Severn to the Avon, and the Church may have been in a clearing at a junction of footpaths and roads, serving hamlets over a large area in the forest. For example, Dragon Road appears to be along the line of an ancient pathway running to the Church[4] and a major Roman Highway[5] ran from Bath, through Winterbourne and Aust to a » Roman Camp at Caerleon (Isca).

It is likely that Winterbourne Parish was called "Frampton" until St Peter's Church in Frampton Cotterell was built and a separate Parish established[6]. Frampton had the first church in the area, between 1066-1086 and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book[7]. The first date for a church at Winterbourne is 1281AD[8]. The dedication in 1352 was to St Mary[9] but it was changed at a later date in favour of St Michael the Archangel.

In 1228, Henry III granted a Charter of Disafforestation and most of the Royal Forest of Kingswood (including Winterbourne) was converted into common land. Thomas Bradestone is named as 'Keeper of the Forest' History of Kingswood Forest 1 Pat Roll 19 Ed II

Carmelite Friars, established in Bristol in 1267, may have had some connection with the parish[10].

William or Thomas de Headingdone was the first Rector in 1281. In 1321 he was blind and by 1323 he was old and infirm[11]. He resigned in 1332 and Adam Orleston, Bishop of Worcester, wrote: "Considering William's great service in the erection of noble buildings, and in their defence, and to save him from poverty, we have ordered that William shall receive £20 from John and his successors"[12]. William was granted the pension on October 20th 1332.

John de Giffard appears to have been patron in 1321[13], was given Stoke Gifford for his part in the death of Edward II but was later executed[14]. Thomas de Bradeston (from Bradeston near Berkeley) obtained the Patronage of the Parish in 1328 [15]. He had already been granted custody of Kingswood Chase in 1325[16]. Thomas was a retainer of the Great Earl of Berkeley and he, too, was very likely involved in the murder of the infamous King Edward II at Berkeley Castle in 1327. Winterbourne may have been his reward. Thomas was knighted in 1330, later becoming a Peer, a Governor of Gloucester, a hero at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, and a famous Commander. Thomas added the Chantry Chapel in 1351 and probably the Manor Chapel, the Tower and the Spire. He died in 1360.

The Church remained unaltered until the Reformation when the statues and stained glass windows were destroyed. Paul Bush, the first Bishop of Bristol after the founding of the see in 1542 became Rector of Winterbourne when deprived of the Bishopric by Queen Mary[17].


Winterbourne Court Farm next to the church is built on the site of the old Manor House, the home of the Lord of the Manor.

view of church, graveyard and Winterbourne Court from the air
View of church, new Churchyard, Monks Walk and Winterbourne Court from the air.

There has been a farm at Winterbourne Court since before 1337[18]. In 1393, Richard II granted Blanche Bradeston, Lady of the Manor, the right to hold a weekly market and two fairs (June 29th and October 18th - the Feasts of St Peter and St Luke) in the Town of Winterbourne[19]. These were originally held near the Manor Court but later moved to the Green outside the "George and Dragon" and continued until about 1870. The original Manor House was destroyed by fire in 1883[20]. There is reputed to be an underground tunnel from the house to the Church[21].

new churchyard showing Monk's Walk, taken from the Tower
The New Churchyard is enclosed by a wall known as "Monks' Walk", which is thought to be part of the garden wall of the Old Manor House.


In April, 1883, the Rector of Winterbourne, the Rev Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh (a relative of Jane Austen) went on holiday, and left the Churchwardens' Accounts and other documents at Winterbourne Court (the old Manor House) for safe keeping. In the early hours of 2nd April 1883, a fire destroyed the building and many important details of church life went up in smoke[20].


There are two Yew Trees at the entrance to the Churchyard. Yew was used in the Middle Ages for making bows and arrows, and every Parish was commanded by the King to plant yews in the only safe public place. Yews also discouraged animals from trespassing. Yews were planted in 1721 by Rector William Cary and in 1880 by Rector A H Austen-Leigh. The churchyard was extended in 1891[22] and 1946.


The gravestones are not in their original positions. The most interesting and poignant gravestone epitaph is on the "Maids Grave", situated behind the church in line with the West Wall. It is dedicated to Hannah, wife of Robert Fouracre, who died in 1829, and is a sad reflection of that time.

"Thirty years I was a maid
thirteen months a wife
four hours I was a mother and then I lost my life,
Behold my friend and cast an eye
then go thy way prepare to die
repent with speed make no delay
in my prime was called away"

The earliest grave is dated 1603 and is a mound nearest the chancel Norman door. The small stone bearing the date was broken many years ago during restoration work.


The tower is of the Early English and Decorated period (about 1300 AD) and is situated over the South Transept. Some restoration work was carried out in 1922. There are image niches on the buttresses about seven feet from the ground. Presumably the statues they held were destroyed during the Reformation.

There have been several spires. A note about one of them was found among documents at Almondsbury (reported in the Transactions of the BGAS 1959):
the yeere 1583 Wynterburne stone steeple in a tempest of thunder and lyghtnyng
was pytyously rent and the church moyled, wheruppon fell after dyscord betwene 
the old Mr parson Crondall and the paryshyoneres. And just tenn yeeres after 
1593 the lyke tempest and hurt happened to the same steeple and greater 
varyance betwene Mr Nycholas Crondall & the paresh.  So that he lost hys 
parsonage woorth two hundred markes yeerly
moyled: made dirty and disordered. A marke was 67p so the parsonage was worth £134.

In 1811, the weathercock was taken down by a sailor and replaced. The last Spire was struck by lightning in 1827 and repaired at a cost of £65. It was considered unsafe in 1853, dismantled, and rebuilt with new stones. The old stones were set up in the orchard of Hambrook House » where they still stand. The present Spire was built about 1870 (at a cost of £387-10-6) and underwent restoration in 1922, 1929, 1951 »(read about it!) and 1977.


The Tower houses a Maiden Peal of six Bells which were cast by William Evans of Chepstow, whose name appears on the bells. William cast 300 bells - and he and his brother Evan and father Evan before him cast a total of 504 bells for churches in the south west and further afield. William Evans died 9th June 1770 age 80, and was buried in the family vault in Chepstow churchyard. His tomb is inscribed "Belfounder".
The Evans trademark was a bell between the letters EE or WE. Local histories variously ascribe the date of our peal as 1750, 1747, and the 1750s, but 1757 is the date cast on one of the bells.

inscription on bell Evans trademark and the date 1757!

It is unusual (and lucky) to have a complete set of bells all of the same venerable age. In most cases, one or more of the bells would have cracked and had to be recast.

The Bells are inscribed in a simple manner apparently typical of Evans' bells:
Treble:"Glory to God in the Highest"(weight 7cwt)
2nd:"And on Earth Peace"
3rd:"Goodwill towards Men"
4th:"Prosperity to this Parish"
5th:"We were all cast at Chepstow by Wm Evans (1757)"
Tenor:"God preserve our King and Kingdom and send us Peace"(weight 22cwt)

Little is known of the early history of the bells because any relevant Church records were destroyed in the fire of 2nd April 1883.
The bells were originally hung in a wooden frame level with the louvres in the tower, with an 18th century clock in a separate chamber between the ringing chamber and the bells themselves. By 1876 the beams of the frame were unsafe and repairs were carried out:
May 1877. In addition to the restoration and reseating of the church, it has been
necessary to put new beams in the belfry, to support the bells, several of the
old beams having been found in a very unsafe state. This has been done at a cost of £120.
The outlay has been considerable, but it is satisfactory to know that the work 
has been thoroughly well done, and that the bells are worth taking care of, as 
they have been pronounced by competent authority to be one of the most 
perfect peals in the West of England.

Here's the account for the work. itemised account

Further work was needed by 1889:
BELLS	The Parish has another call upon its liberality.  The Church Bells are in
such a bad state that they cannot be rung  Messrs. Llewellin and James estimate 
for what is absolutely necessary is £47,  The Churchwardens will be glad to receive subscriptions towards their repair.
Winterbourne Parish Magazine. February 1890.
The Church Bells are in such a state that they cannot be rung with safety. The
Bells themselves, and the beams, are sound, but their fittings and bearings all 
need renewing, and to do this, it will be necessary to move them out of their
present positions, and re-hang them. The estimate given by Messrs. Llewellyn
and James is £47. The Parishioners of Winterbourn are justly proud of 
their bells; and will no doubt gladly contribute the sum necessary for putting
them into a good condition. Donations may be given to the Rector, or either of  
 the Churchwardens, Mr.E.Eden Jones or Mr W. Norbury.
Winterbourne Parish Magazine. December 1890.
The Church Bells. On another page our readers will find the list of subscribers 
to the Church Bells Fund. The amount required has now been fully subscribed,
and it is hoped that before many days are over, we shall have the pleasure of
hearing again the music of our fine old bells. The surplus, if any, of the
Church Bells' Fund will be devoted to the lighting of the Church, the
completion of which is promised by Christmas.
Have a look at the list of 11 collectors and 363 subscribers.
»Did your ancestors contribute?

and the work was done by late 1890:
Winterbourne Parish Magazine. JANUARY 1891.
THE CHURCH BELLS. On Advent Sunday the fine old bells of our Church were heard 
ringing for the first time for many months. The work of repair seems to have 
been most successfully accomplished, and the thanks of all are due to those who 
have so readily responded to the appeal for help towards the expense. An account
of the receipts and expenditure will be published with the Parish accounts in 
a few weeks time.

More work was carried out in 1923. By 1980 the movement in the bell frame was making ringing increasingly difficult, and so it was decided to rehang the bells in a steel frame as a totally DIY scheme that would cost about £3600 instead of £25000 to have the job done professionally.

The bells were rehung in a new bellframe between 1983-5 by the bellringers and their friends. This was an » ambitious two-year "Do-It-Yourself" project which was carried out in their spare time. Towards the end of the bells project, Terry and Antony Jefferies went to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry with two cracked handbells for repair. During their visit they saw a steel frame under construction for another tower. The frame looked flimsy after ours!

Note that the word 'belfry' has not been used here. At one time, a tower was called a 'berfry', but when people started to associate the first part of it with the word 'bell' it changed to 'belfry' and started to mean a tower with a bell in it. But according to transBGAS 13;286, 'belfry' had no connection with bells, for its earliest meaning was penthouse or sheltershed. Apparently the word is still used in the same sense in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.


The Chancel is the oldest part of the Church. The flat buttresses on the corners of the East End are characteristic of the Norman style of the 12th Century, and their bold projection suggests they belong to the Transition period, 1160-1200. The pointed moulding to the Priest's door on the South Side is also Transition period. The Priest's door was used by the Priest to enter or leave the Sanctuary before a Vestry was built. When Knights returned from the Crusades, they scored crosses on the exterior stonework of the doorway before entering the Church, and traces of these can still be seen. The crosses may also mark where holy water fell during the Consecration.



The Old Vestry[25] was rebuilt as a Porch during the 1843 restoration work.

The framework of the South Porch Doorway may be Norman and was originally situated at the back of the Church in the West Wall. It was moved to its present position in 1843 when the West Wall was taken down, The Door dates from the thirteenth century. The Porch has a roof similar to the Church and has stone benches along its walls. Reverend John Walker Jones (curate 1785-1862) had a school at or near the Church between 1813 and 1835 and the Old Vestry may have been used as a school. By Law a Coat-of-Arms or "blazon" of the King had to be hung in the Parish Church in order to show loyalty to the Hanoverians and not the Stuarts, following the 1688 Revolution. However, the Coat-of-Arms in the Porch is described in "The Royal Arms" C. Hasler, pp244-9; as
The Royal Coat-of-Arms
"typical florid early Victorian".

A » Domesday plaque is displayed alongside the blazon. Wooden boards on the wall record Trusts founded in the 18th century. Traces of a Scratch Dial can be seen on the outside wall above the door. This was replaced upside-down when the porch was rebuilt in 1843.

A font is usually found near the door of a church, so this was probably moved from an original position near the West Wall in 1843 when the doorway was moved. The font, which dates from the end of the 17th century, is carved out of a single lump of stone, has scalloped or gadrooned sides, and is lined with lead.


In the 1830s the Oxford Movement drew the attention of the Church of England to the neglected state of the Churches and the Cambridge Camden Society (later the Ecclesiological Society) inspired the "spring cleaning" of Churches from 1839.

Winterbourne Church was in a poor state of repair, and a massive restoration took place in 1843. The whole of the North and West Walls, and part of the South Wall were taken down. A stained glass window in the West Wall bearing the Berkeley coat-of-arms[25] was removed. The pillars supporting the Roof were found to be in a dangerous state, and were taken down. All was rebuilt. The roof of the Nave (latin: navis-a ship) is of hammerbeam construction. The beauty of the restored Nave was noted by J LEECH in his 1845 "Rural Rides of the Bristol Churchgoer"

The pulpit and the high-backed pews remained in position during the 1843 restoration but were replaced in May 1877[28].

 illustration of the new-fangled 'Veritas' oil lampOil lamps were installed in 1890.
Winterbourne Parish Magazine. JANUARY 1891. On Christmas Eve the Church was for the first time fully lighted with one-hundred-candle-power 'Veritas' lamps, the Chancel having been already lighted for Afternoon Services on December 21st. In future, Evensong on Saints' Days will be in church, and it is hoped that in the future much more of the service of God than has hitherto been possible may be conducted in our ancient and venerable fane.

inside view of church, before 1905
This illustration is taken from the church guide by Rev ATS Goodrick, Rector from 1890 until his death in 1914. It's a poor quality reproduction but two Veritas lamps can be made out in the top left-hand corner.

Electricity was connected in 1937, the gift of the Rector's Warden, Mr C W Buckland, of the High Street, in memory of his wife.


A gallery at the West End of the church was taken down in 1815[30]. Portions of the Grecian Pillars which supported the gallery stand outside St. Mary-at-the-Barn. A larger Gallery, extending along the whole of the West Wall, was built, "owing to the great increase in the population, and many inhabitants being unprovided with seats. The new gallery to provide for the children now attending the newly-established school" .

This gallery was taken down during the restoration work of 1843. The Stained Glass Window (by Bells of Bristol) in the West Wall was erected to the memory of William Tanner (d.October 1887) by his sons and daughters in 1889:
The west window of the Parish Church has been filled with stained glass, in 
memory of the late William Tanner, Esq.  The design is very appropriate to a 
Church dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels, and illustrates the hymn of 
praise : "Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of 
heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name; evermore praising Thee, and 
saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of 
Thy glory: glory be to Thee, O Lord most High."
   At the top of the window our Lord is Represented sitting on His heavenly 
   throne.  Below in the smaller lights and canopies are angels with musical
 instruments.  The large figures are intended for the four Archangels:
   1 - Gabriel - (The man of God) with a white lily.- Luke I, 19.
   2 - Michael (The God like) trampling on the dragon.-Dan. x.,Jude ix.,Rev. xii.7.
   3 - Raphael - (The Divine healer) with Pilgrim's staff - TOBIL iii. -xii.
   4- Uriel - (The Fire of God) with trumpet.- 2 ESDRAS iv., v, and x.
   In the four lower compartments are pictures of various scenes of angelic ministration in the New Testament.
   1 - The Annunciation.- LUKE i., 19.
   2 - After the Temptation.- MATT. iv. 2.
   3 - In the Garden.-Luke xxii. 43.
   4 - At the Sepulchre.- MATT., MARX, Luke, John.
   At the foot of the window is the following inscription:- "This window is 
   erected by his sons and daughters to the memory of William Tanner, of 
Frenchay, in this Parish; who was born 26th of July 1802, and died 20th of
 October, 1887.  Until the day break, and the shadows flee away. (Song of
 Solomon ii. 17)"
   The glass is by Messrs Bell, of Bristol, and is delicate and harmonious
    in colouring.  The window is a great ornament to the Church, and a lasting
 memorial to one  who loved Winterbourne Church dearly; and who has left his
 record in the restored Manor Chapel, and in the Endowment Fund for the 
support of the services But those who knew him need no memorial - they can 
never forget their kind old friend.

From the Winterbourne Parish Magazine, May 1899.

The Stained Glass Window on the South Wall:

The "Annunciation" window is in memory of Captain Henry Godfrey Marsh (d1872), his wife Josephine Marghuerite and their children They lived at Winterbourne Park. The large fir trees in Friary Grange Park were once in their garden.


The Church was originally dedicated to St.Mary, and only the »Chantry Chapel (where prayers were said for the dead) was dedicated to St.Michael[9].

The Chapel was founded by Thomas de Bradeston in 1351 by licence of the King: permission from the Bishop was not required[31]. An Altar stood against the East Wall[32]. The Piscina (a bowl in the wall for washing the communion vessels) can still be seen. The Chantry existed until dissolved in 1547. The residence of the Chantry Priests was the Wardenage House which until pulled down in the early 1800s, stood where the cottages now stand. The Chantry Chapel was largely rebuilt in 1880[33].

Medieval fresco paintings were discovered on the walls underneath the plaster and whitewash during restoration work, presumably having been covered during the Reformation. The Rector, Rev Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh wrote: "On removing the plaster traces of painting were discovered, and as much was preserved as could be" [33]. The paintings can be seen under good lighting conditions: roses, several knights in armour, St, Michael (said to be Lord Bradeston) trampling on the dragon, the Bradeston device ("a boars head couped and ducally gorged") and the Bradeston coat of arms ("argent, on a canton gules, a rose or, barbed proper")[34]. The Bradeston Coat-of-Arms can be seen in the East Windows of Gloucester and Bristol Cathedrals. The East Wall (originally an outside wall against which the altar stood) was removed in 1894 and an organ loft added to the church by Mrs Ellen Tanner. The Organ was manufactured by Vowles of Bristol. A previous organ was situated under the arch on the left of the Chancel[35].

In 1882 the Stained Glass Window (by Bells of Bristol) under the Tower, installed by William Tanner, Lord of the Manor, in memory of his wife (dl855) and daughter was damaged in a gale and was replaced by him[36]. The window portrays two of the miracles.

The Chancel Arch was added in the 13th century[37], together with the North Tower Arch and the Inner Porch Doorway. The pillars of the Chancel Arch are three inches out of perpendicular, The windows beside the arch went through to the Churchyard before the Organ Chamber was built.

There was a Nave Altar just below the Chancel steps[38] and a Piscina remains set in the wall. The lower window could have been a "squint" for those people excluded from the church, eg. lepers or others with contagious diseases, to see the service.


photograph from inside the chancel
View of Nave and West Window from inside the Chancel. Dated 1975 but obviously a very old postcard!

The chancel is the oldest part of the building. The String Course which runs round the walls is a feature of Norman Building, as is the Priest's Door which is concealed behind the Victorian door.

There is a memorial to Amy and Thomas Symes in the Chancel.
In Memory of AMY, the Wife of THOMAS SYMES, Esqr. of this Parish, Daughter of
EDWARD BRIDGES, of  Keynsham in the County of Somerset. Esqr. descended from
the noble Family of the Lord CHANDOIS, Baron of Sudely Castle in the County of
Gloucester, who though her Extraction was Honorable, yet by her Examplary
Life and Manners became an honor to her Family and after 17 Years spent in
her minority and 20 Years in Wedlock in which interval she was mother of twelve
Sons and four Daughters, changed this mortal State for  an immortall the 30 of
April 1662. Here also lyes the Body of THOMAS SYMES, of this Parish, Esqr. Son
of JOHN SYMES, of Ponsford in the County of  Somerset. Esqr. who deceased the
22 day of January 1669, Aged 48 Years. Here also lyes the Body of BENJAMIN, Son
of  THOMAS SYMES, Esqr. and AMY, his Wife, who deceased August the 12, 1662,
Aged 6 Months. Here also lyes the body of ELIZABETH, Daughter of THOMAS SYMES,
and AMY, his Wife, who deceased the 18 of January, ..... (no Year)
Aged 19 Years

Anthony Bradeston, Lord of the Manor in 1549, may have been buried in the Chancel.

The East Wall was rebuilt in 1856 and raised by two feet to allow the insertion of a loftier window, Mrs. Mary Anne Jones presented the Stained Glass Window "The Ascension of the Risen Lord" by Thomas Willement[38] and the carved Reredos in memory of her husband who was curate for 22 years (Mrs Jones, of Winterbourne Park, grand-daughter of William Perry, also founded the Perry Almshouses (1851) in Dragon Road in memory of her family). The Reredos with its representation of "The Last Supper" was carved by a young local sculptor called Farmer, who died soon after completing this work.

Flooring and reseating of the chancel was carried out in 1880 and paid for by the Rector, Rev A H Austen-Leigh[39] The Clarke-Jones family obliterated texts on the East Wall in 1919 and raised the Reredos and Altar by one foot. The silver gilt Cross and Candlesticks were presented in 1950 by the Burrough family in memory of Canon C J Burrough and his son, Rev C W Burrough.


The Manor chapel was probably built in the 14th Century by the Lord of the manor, Thomas de Bradeston, who held his legal court at Winterbourne Court next to the Church, although he lived mainly at Bradeston (now Breadstone)near Berkeley[40].

The Chapel was restored and two Stained Glass Windows ("Three Kings offering Gifts" and "The Sermon on the Mount") added in 1880 by William Tanner, Lord of the Manor.

The Chapel was renovated in 1919 by his daughter, Miss Tanner, as a memorial to the men of Winterbourne who died in the Great War.

The brass effigy of a lady (set on the South Wall) is the oldest brass still existing in the County, and dates from about 1370[41]. It originally covered a tomb on the floor at the East End of the Chapel, but was moved in 1919 when the altar was placed there[42].

The lady is thought to be either Blanche, wife of Sir Edmund Bradeston, or Agnes, second wife of Sir Thomas Bradeston, She wears a veil head-dress, a gown with pockets but without buttons and the kirtle has long sleeves. The large canopied monument to James Buck (d1612) was erected by his son Matthew. The Buck Family succeeded the Bradestons as Lords of the Manor.

There was a Vestry at the North-East end of the Manor Chapel which was built in 1843. This was demolished when the present Vestry was built in 1880.

The stone effigies of a Knight and Lady, made by Bristol craftsmen and positioned against the North Wall of the Chapel (and formerly under the arch between the chapel and chancel) may be Sir Robert Bradeston (died c1355) and his wife Isabella (her second marriage). The Knight wears "studded" armour, used only for ceremonial purposes, and seldom found on tombs. His helmet is surmounted by the Bradeston crest, and his legs are crossed with his feet resting on a lion. A badge showing the head of a fish with a line in its mouth is by the left shoulder. This is hidden against the wall. The effigy was apparently erected after Robert's death, though Isabella lived for another forty years and had four more husbands.


A pulpit was placed near the middle of the South Wall but was moved back to the present position in 1698.
the Reading Pew and Pulpitt were removed from ye middle of ye South Wall where
they then inconveniently stood, and placed where they had formerly stood
adjoining to ye Chancell, on ye right hand as you goe out of ye Chancell into
the body of the church
Winterbourne Parish Records, Third Register, 20 July 1698.

The present pulpit was presented by Henry William Marsh in May 1877.


Traces of a staircase which led to a Rood Loft in Medieval times[45] can be seen on the North Wall beside the effigy of a knight under a canopy (which still retains traces of its original colouring). The identity of the Knight, who lies cross-legged with his feet on a lion with long paws, is unknown. It was once thought to be William Tukerham, Lord of Sturden (d1257) but is now thought to be dated 1320, and is popularly assigned to Hugo de Sturden[46]. Hugo was the hero of a romantic elopement from Sturden Court Farm with theheiress of the Bennetts of Syston, immortalised by Richard Pearsall (1775 -1856) in the glee, "O! who will o'er the Downs so free", There is a legend[47] that Hugo sold himself to the Devil, and to cheat the Devil of his due, he directed that his body should be carried sideways to burial and buried in the wall of the Church. Another legend is that for his sins he was buried half in and half out the Church. His monument may have originally stood at the entrance to the Tower and been moved during the 1843 restoration[48], but there is no evidence to suggest that it has not always been in its present position[42].


on the North Wall:

The "Great War" window is a memorial to the men who died in the 1914-18 war and depicts a uniformed soldier kneeling at the foot of a wayside Cross, near Ypres in Belgium, The town's famous Cloth Hall burns in the background.

The "Garden of Gethsemane" window depicts our Lord praying. It was installed in the 1920s at the suggestion of Canon Charles Burrough who had received the design.

The "Prewett" window by » Alan Younger was installed in 1973. The left-hand light portrays the agricultural side of the parish, with soil and stone, The right-hand light suggests man-made products. Corn and a chalice feature above these.

In the 1700s an oratory stood against the North Wall[25].

At the back of the North Aisle are three stone effigies, made by Bristol craftsmen[38], which were moved from the Manor Chapel in 1987. The pair were damaged during the Reformation. They are thought to be either John (the younger son of Sir Robert) and his wife, or his son Edmund (or maybe Thomas, son of Robert Bradeston, and his wife Ela). Obviously a case for further research!

. John died in 1374,a year before he became of age,and so Edmund took possession of the Manor.

Near these tombs is a stone effigy of a reclining lady with her hands in prayer, and her head resting on two pillows. It is dated at about 1300, earlier than the Knights' effigies, and so may be a lady of an earlier family. The effigy was under the tower in 1779[50].


The cage-frame striking clock dates from the late 17th/early 18th century, and was a thirty-hour clock worked by a weight. The winding mechanism was modified in recent years to allow rewinding every eight days, but the extra weight strained the movement and it thereafter proved unreliable. It finally stopped in 1969 and lay disused in the Tower from that date. It was dismantled and removed from the Tower in 1983 during » preliminary work for the Bells Rehanging Project. The clock hands in the Tower have been worked by a synchronous electric motor since 1970. The clock mechanism was rebuilt for display in the Church in 1987.


Thomas Cromwell was Vicar-General to Henry VIII, and in September 1538 ordered Parish priests to keep registers, and the order was made again during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603).

After her death in 1603 it was directed[51] that a parchment book should be provided in every parish "wherein shall be written the day and year of every Christening, Wedding and Burial, which have been in the parish since the time that the law was first made in that behalf, so far as the ancient books can be procured, but especially since the reign of the late Queen".

The » Winterbourne Registers start in 1600 but there is a gap in the entries between June 1642 and March 1654, caused by the confusion of the Civil War between King Charles and Parliament.

In 1982 all Parish Registers in the country were ordered to be surrendered to the County Archives. The Winterbourne Parish Council launched a Public Appeal to buy an approved secure cabinet capable of keeping documents under safe storage conditions. Consequently, for many years, Winterbourne was one of only a few parishes in the country allowed to keep its historic registers.

In 2006 when the Rector, Canon EI Bailey, and his wife Joanna (the approved keeper of the records) left Winterbourne, all registers and records were surrendered finally to the Bristol Records Office.
However, all the records have been transcribed by local historian Ray Bulmer and copies of local Parish Records, Registers and School Records for Winterbourne, Winterbourn Down and Frenchay have been made available for everyone to view by
# The Frenchay Tuckett Society at the Frenchay Museum.
This valuable reference source is available online at
# Winterbourne Family History Online


1281 *Thomas or William de Headingdone

1332 John of Hereford

1349 *Robert Murdock (or Murdac)

1368 John Ailmer

1369 *Richard Coleshull

1370 Thomas Ocle

1371 Richard Apelderham

1405 *Walter Fitzpiers

1405 Henry Mory

1431 *Thomas Dogton

1471 *Thomas Palmer

*Robert Gylbart d1531

1538 John Parker

1540 Curate-in-charge:John Rastall. Excommunicated in 1544.

1541 *John Compton

1555 Paul Bush, Bishop of Bristol. Retired to Winterbourne during Marian Persecution. d Oct 1558.
Buried in Bristol Cathedral.

1559 John Moore

1569 Henry Weston

1572 Nicholas Croundall (or Crondall). Suspended for ecclesiastical causes in 1599.
Correction to church records: There were two Crondalls (Crundalls), father and son, both named Nicholas. Nicholas (senior) was the incumbent from 29 November 1572 until his death in 1589 (granted under the patronage of Margery Bradston, widow of Robert Bradston.) She also conveyed the advowson to Nicholas and it was inherited by his eldest son James who subsequently installed his younger brother, Nicholas (junior) as incumbent. So one Nicholas was rector from 1572 to 1589 and the second from 1589 to 1599.

1600 Richard Bridges (or Brydges) d1641. Buried in the chancel.

1642 John Griffith d1697. *Buried in the chancel.

1698 Richard Towgood

1713 William Cary

1759 John Saunders d1777. Buried in Winterbourne.

1777 Edward Warneford d1795. Buried in the Chancel. Built the Barn.

1795 Nathaniel Hoore d1798. Buried in the chancel.

1799 Samuel Parker d1826

1827 Thomas Whitfield d1834. Buried in the chancel. Built the Rectory in 1834.
(Rev J W Jones was his curate)

1834 John Crosby Clark

1835 William Birkett Allen d1862. Buried in the churchyard.

1863 Frank Burges d1875. Buried in the churchyard.

1875 » Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh

1890 » Alfred Thomas Scrope Goodrick d1914. Buried in the churchyard.

1914 Charles James Burrough d1931. Buried in the churchyard.

1932 Archibald Hankey Sewell

1944 Christopher Rawdon Willis

1949 Sydney R Worters

1954 Leslie Sydney Stevenson

1970 Edward Ian Bailey

          WINTERBOURNE, Glos.
      At the Church of St Michael
      On Monday, November 16, 1970

         A QUARTER PEAL OF 1260

              Tenor 25cwt.

   Ernest Thomas   .   .   .  Treble
   Sheila A Drew   .   .   .   .   2
   John W G Jeffries   .   .   .   3
   Henry Taysom    .   .   .   .   4
   Terrance J Jeffries* (Cond) .   5
   Reginald H Driver   .   .   Tenor

        *First as conductor

To welcome the Rev E I Bailey to this
parish. Inducted this day as Rector by
      the Bishop of Bristol.
Reprinted from the Ringing World

The link established with St John's College, Oxford came to an end with the retirement of Edward Ian Bailey in 2006.


ATKYNS R 1712 "The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire"

BIRD WH 1928 "Old Gloucester Churches"

BRAINE A 1891 "The History of Kingswood Forest"

CAMDEN W 1586 "Brittania"

DAVIS C 1899 "Monumental Brasses of Gloucestershire" (Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1969)

ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire" (Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

GLYNNE SR 1860 "Gloucestershire Church Notes"

» GOODRICK ATS 1905 "A Brief Account of the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Winterbourne"

» HUDLESTON CR 1937 "A Short Guide to the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Gloucestershire"
(CRH was Hon Sec of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society and lived at the Grove, Winterbourne)

JONES AE 1899 "Our Parish:Mangotsfield"

LEECH J 1845 "Rural Rides of the Bristol Churchgoer" (Gloucester:Sutton)

LUDWELL HWN 1965 Church History in Winterbourne Parish Magazine, February-September 1965

LUDWELL HWN 1967 "A History of Winterbourne" (Winterbourne Community Association 1973)

MASON E D 1982 "Avon Villages"(London:Hale)

MOODY T 1977 "Winterbourne House" (Gloucestershire:Bailey)

MOORE JS 1979 "Avon Local History Handbook"

MOORE JS 1981 "Local History in Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell and Stoke Gifford"

MOORE JS 1982 "Medieval Forest of Kingswood":Avon Past 7

MORRIS GR 1974 "The Mid Frome Valley"

RUDDER S 1779 "A New History of Gloucestershire" (Gloucester:Sutton;reprint 1977)

» SHIPWAY Private communication to C R Hudleston

SMITH B 1974 "Gloucestershire Local History Handbook"

SMITH and RALPH 1972 "A History of Bristol and Gloucestershire"

VEREY D 1970 "Gloucestershire:The Vale and Forest of Dean"

and Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society (transBGAS)



In 1347 the Great Plague came into the country and spread from the south coast and south-west ports. Whole villages were abandoned or burnt to the ground in an effort to escape the ravages of the Black Death, but within ten years the bubonic plague had destroyed nearly half the population of England. It reached Gloucester in 1348.
Pennant Stone Quarries, Winterbourn Down in the 1600s.
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2. Moore 1991,5
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4. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

4. Elliot,65 refers to the Winterbourne Award(Enclosure Act)1831: " other leading from the Bristol Turnpike road over part of Winterbourne Down to an ancient highway leading to Winterbourne Church."
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5.CAMDEN W 1586 "Brittania"

5. Camden Vol. 1, 270.
transBGAS 85;36: mentioned in the 14th Antonine Itinerary.
The Roman general Ostorius marched to Aust, crossed the Severn on his expedition against the 'Silures'
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6. Moore 1981,5
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7. ".. and there is a church which was not"
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8. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

8. Elliot 24(refers Worcester Historical Society p128):10th March 1281."Bishop of Worcester ordered a Commission between Convent and Abbott of St.Augustine of Bristol and the Rector of Winterbourne touching tythes."

Moore 1992: Alveston and Winterbourne granted to laymen 1156(Great Pipe Roll 2 Henry II p49)
ATKYNS R 1712 "The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire"
Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society

An earlier reference of 1112 AD from the translation (Atkyns,138-9) of 'Monasticon Anglicanum' by Sir William Dugdale has been discredited (transBGAS vol. 98 1980, 95-97). It refers to Winterbourne in Wiltshire:

"In the year 1112 Robert Gernoun gave to the Church of St.Peter of Gloucester the church of Wynterbourne". "Helias Boy Giffard gave to the monks of St.Peter of Gloucester the chapel of St.Andrew of Winterbourn" (1160). The County Histories of Rudder and Rudge are in error.
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9. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

9. Elliot,32 refers to the Calendar of Patent Rolls: a licence granted in 1352 to Thomas de Bradeston for "the chantry newly made by him at the altar of St Michael in the church of St Mary, Winterbourne".
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10. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

10. Elliot,12 refers to Worcester Diocesan Records Giffard-folio19: "commission by the prior and brethren of Mount Carmel, Bristol" (now the site of Colston Hall).
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11. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

11. Elliot,23,24-25
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12. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

12. Elliot,25 refers to "Liber Albus" in the Cathedral Library of Worcester.
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13. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

13. Elliot,24 refers to Bishop Cobham's Register(1321). John de Giffard claims to be patron: but Elliot,4: "In 1320 Sir John Giffard unjustly disseized Robert de Hadele of a messuage and a caracate of land in Winterbourne".
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14. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

14. Mason and Mason,64: Elliot,4
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15. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

15. Elliot,4
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16. BRAINE A 1891 "The History of Kingswood Forest"

16. Braine,35 refers to 1 Patent Roll 19 EdI M,9
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17. Dictionary of National Biography Vol 3,484-5
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18. MORRIS GR 1974 "The Mid Frome Valley"

18. Morris,33
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19. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

19. Elliot,6 refers to the Calendar of Charter Rolls; and Church Magazine April 1950:

"Mr Ludwell is one of the few who can recall the list of these (livestock) fairs held in front of the old Dragon Inn ..The weekly market dropped out of memory before the days of even the oldest inhabitant".
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20. Note in Winterbourne Parish Records(WPR).
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21. LUDWELL HWN 1967 "A History of Winterbourne" (Winterbourne Community Association 1973)
MOODY T 1977 "Winterbourne House" (Gloucestershire:Bailey).
ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire" (Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

21. Ludwell: Moody,110 mentions a tunnel between the church and Winterbourne House. Evidence in Elliot,67 does not support the existence of either.
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22. Church Magazine June 1991 (in WPR)
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23. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society

23. transBGAS 1959,175: copy in WPR. Worth a read!
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25. RUDDER S 1779 "A New History of Gloucestershire" (Gloucester:Sutton;reprint 1977)

25. Rudder,835
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27. LEECH J 1845 "Rural Rides of the Bristol Churchgoer" (Gloucester:Sutton)

27. Leech,166
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28. Rev A H Austen-Leigh's Notes in WPR.
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30. Rev A H Austen-Leigh's Notes in WPR: "made of deal and very rough. The pulpit matched them".
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31. JONES AE 1899 "Our Parish:Mangotsfield"

31. Jones refers to Burns Ecclesiastical Law Volume i 271.
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32. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

32. Elliot,12
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33. Rev A H Austen-Leigh's Notes in WPR. He also noted: "growing out of the sill of the Tower there used to be a shrub or tree".
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34. RUDDER S 1779 "A New History of Gloucestershire" (Gloucester:Sutton;reprint 1977)

34. Rudder,834
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35. SHIPWAY 1920? Private communication to C R Hudlestone

35. Shipway,3:Winterbourne Parish Records:"1880 Organ came fr ch n chapel at Twerton".
LUDWELL HWN 1967 "A History of Winterbourne" (Winterbourne Community Association 1973)
Ludwell,40 refers Church Magazine, June 1880: "organ rebuilt, improves its tone and power".
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36. Rev A H Austen-Leigh's Notes in WPR. He also noted that the previous window"was put up by Wm Tanner some years ago".
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37. GLYNNE SR 1860 "Gloucestershire Church Notes"
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37. Glynne,119

38. VEREY D 1970 "Gloucestershire:The Vale and Forest of Dean"

38. Verey,409
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39. Church Magazine 1880
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40. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

40. Elliot,5
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41.DAVIS C 1899 "Monumental Brasses of Gloucestershire" (Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1969)

41. Davis,1
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42. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

42. Elliot,15
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45. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

45. Elliot,13 refers to the Bristol Diocesan Register 4,708 (1559) and J C Cox "Gloucestershire".
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46. ATKYNS R 1712 "The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire"

46. Atkyns,842: Elliot,15 refers to Ida Roper "Monumental Effigies of Gloucester" and the County History of Rudge.
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47. ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

47. Elliot,15 refers to the County History of Rudge.
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48. GOODRICK ATS 1905 "A Brief Account of the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Winterbourne"

48. Goodrick,4
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50.ATKYNS R 1712 "The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire"
RUDDER S 1779 "A New History of Gloucestershire" (Gloucester:Sutton;reprint 1977)
ELLIOT CHB 1936 "Winterbourne Gloucestershire"
(Bath:Kingsmead Reprints 1970)

50. Atkyns;Rudder,936; Elliot,15 appears to be in error.
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51. JONES AE 1899 "Our Parish:Mangotsfield"

51. Jones,57.
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and finally » here's a review of the first edition of the Guide.