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.
EASTLEACH EASTLEACH TURVILLE
13/181 Church of St Andrew
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