Round & About Eastleach – St Andrews Church

One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew's is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.
St Andrews Church Eastleach

Church of St Andrew – A Grade I Listed Building in Eastleach Martin, Gloucestershire

One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew’s is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.

An apocryphal tale suggests that the churches were built by two sisters who argued, and each put up their own church. Unfortunately, the truth is less dramatic. The estates of Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville were always separate, and each church was built by the lord of the manor for use by his family and retainers.

The most striking exterior feature of Eastleach church is the saddleback west tower, built in the late 13th or early 14th century, with finely shaped windows. In the churchyard is the base of a medieval cross.

You enter St Andrews through a Norman doorway, built about 1130. Over the door is a wonderfully carved tympanum, depicting Christ in Majesty, flanked by adoring angels. The figures of Christ and the angels are worn (or defaced) but the surrounding chevron and traditional Norman carving motifs are clear and crisp. The overall effect is quite wonderful.

Look closely at the carved lectern, at the east end of the nave. It came from Tewkesbury Abbey and was for some years used by a local parishioner as a parrot stand. When the bird died, she restored to use as a lectern in the church. The Jacobean pulpit has carved panels that once served as garden seats.

Near the lectern is a large parish chest, probably dating to 1632. The font is a rather plain octagonal style, dating to the 15th century. The organ partly hides a 14th-century tomb recess in the transept, decorated with ballflower carvings under a cusped canopy.

The most famous curate of Eastleach Turville was John Keble, the Victorian church reformer who helped inspire the Oxford Movement. The clapper bridge across the Leach is named in honour of Keble. For more on this influential Victorian, read a short biography in our article on Eastleach Martin church.

One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew's is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.
St Andrews Church Eastleach

Listing Text

EASTLEACH EASTLEACH TURVILLE
SP 1905-2005
13/181 Church of St Andrew
26.1.61
GV I

Parish church. C12; C13 north transept, C14 tower. C17 alterations.

Random rubble limestone; stone slate roof. Nave with south porch and north transept; west tower and chancel.

Fine C12 south doorway with 2 orders of chevrons to round arch, inner chevrons taken down jambs; billeted hoodmould. Carved tympanum depicts Christ in Majesty with 2 angels. Scalloped capitals and pellet ornament to abaci; carved shafts, left with pellet enriched spiral, right with chevrons.

C13 parapet gabled porch with square sundial finial; internal stone seats and trefoil-headed east image niche.

C14 window with Decorated tracery to left of porch; pointed window to right with central C17 mullion; raking buttress at junction with chancel. Blocked arches of 2-bay north arcade, each with C17 pointed window. North transept has 3-light Decorated window in parapet gabled north end; two C13 lancets to each side.

C14 two-stage saddleback tower with 2-light belfry openings having trefoil heads; further opening in apex of west gable. Pilaster buttresses to partially roughcast rendered east
end of chancel. Continuous string course rises as hoodmould above Early English triplet window.

Blocked pointed archway on north side of chancel (formerly leading to chapel) has one jamb with 2 attached shafts preserved under small lean-to hood; one shaft has crocket capital, carved grotesque head to keeled shaft.

Limes washed interior. Nave dominated by 3 bay north arcade.

Three-bay king post truss elm nave roof of 1909. Fine Early English chancel arch with clustered shafts and interestingly carved capitals.

Contemporary multi-shafted east triplet, also with carved capitals. 1909 three-bay hammer beam chancel roof. Small north aumbry or piscina recess. C18 ledger slabs in chancel to Saunders, Keble and Porter families.

Hexagonal timber pulpit with Jacobean panels. Reading desk dated ‘1632 RC WH’. Lectern with vine trail shaft said to have come from Tewkesbury Abbey.

Gothic memorial above tower doorway to Benjamin Boyes, died 1814, by Harvey of Fairford.

C14 mortuary recess now concealed by organ in transept has ballflower enrichment to cusped canopy.


(N.M. Herbert, ‘Eastleach Turville’ in V.C.H. Glos. vii, 1981, pp.
61-69; D. Verey, Cotswold Churches, 1976, and Gloucestershire:
The Cotswolds, 1979)


Listing NGR: SP2020505352

The following Gallery of lovely photos is by Freddie Pymer

One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew's is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.
One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew's is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.
Church of St Andrew - A Grade I Listed Building in Eastleach Martin, Gloucestershire
One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew’s is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.

Church of St Andrew – Detailed History

The church of ST. ANDREW, which bore that dedication by 1282, is built of limestone rubble with ashlar dressings and comprises chancel, nave with north transept and south porch, and west tower.

The south wall of the nave is of the mid 12th century and the south doorway has two decorated orders and a carved tympanum. The chancel arch, though partly renewed c. 1884, is of the late 12th century, as is the north wall of the chancel; a blocked arch of two orders in the wall presumably opened into the chapel of Holy Trinity recorded in 1506. 

The east wall of the chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century and has 3 lancets within an arcade. Later in the 13th century a north aisle with an arcade of 3 bays, the south porch, and the west tower were added.

In the earlier 14th century the north transept, which formed an extension to the easternmost bay of the aisle, was added, and a window with flowing tracery in the south wall of the nave is of the same period.

The removal of the north aisle and the chancel chapel was possibly carried out in the 17th century; the transept walls were extended to meet the easternmost bay of the aisle arcade and the two other bays were blocked and given plain lights with a single mullion.

The north and south walls of the chancel may have been altered at that time and repairs to the chancel were carried out in 1776 when the roof had apparently collapsed. 

In 1825 the east and west walls of the transept were rebuilt, the old lights being reset. 

The whole church was re-roofed with local elm, given by G. S. Bazley, in 1906. 

A window in the transept formerly depicted John of Leach, a priest, and a 14th-century tomb in its north wall had an effigy, perhaps also of one of the Leach family; both glass and effigy had been removed by the 1780s. 

A reading desk dated 1632 and some old panels, built into the present pulpit, may have once formed part of an old 3-decker pulpit. Some of the pews also have old woodwork, probably from the earlier box-pews.

The parish chest of 1678 survives. The carved shaft to the lectern came from Tewkesbury Abbey. The two bells were recast by John Rudhall in 1789. 

The plate includes a bellshaped chalice of 1733. In the churchyard is the base of a stone cross. The registers survive only from 1654 and the volume for 1748–79 has been lost

The following Gallery of wonderful photos is by Andy Hill

Church of St Andrew - A Grade I Listed Building in Eastleach Martin, GloucestershireChurch of St Andrew - A Grade I Listed Building in Eastleach Martin, GloucestershireOne of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew's is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.One of two Eastleach churches that face each other on opposite banks of the River Leach in the heart of Eastleach in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, St Andrew's is a lovely country church dating to the early 12th century.

If you have any images of the Church of St Andrew please send them to steveandvince@outlookh.com

steve clarke
Author: steve clarke