Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Gloucestershire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 68194 69334


1. 5118 BITTON CHURCH LANE Parish Church of St Mary ST 6869 15/1 11.5.53 GV 2. Anglo-Saxon origins on an earlier British site. Norman remodelling with inserted Decorated and Perpendicular style windows. St Catherine's Chapel (north side) added 1298-9. West tower 1370s. Late C14 chancel. Transept removed C15. Restored in C19. Built of rubble with ashlar dressings and modillions to parapet, later date roof. Consists of long 5 bay aisless nave, with 2 bay north chapel (St Catherine's, now Lady Chapel) added by Thomas de Button (Bitton), Bishop of Exeter, taller 2 bay chancel with priest's door, Tower and Vestry. Blocked Norman south door with continuous order, see Keynsham Abbey (founded circa 1170) across the river, and nook shafts; the doorway was repaired in 1822. Small, probably reset, Norman doorway to north of Tower (in Vestry) with outer order of elaborated chevron forming lozenges and dogtooth (again probably ll7Os or 1180s) and with a later moulded pointed arch inserted. Vestry fits in angle of tower and Lady Chapel. Very good large 3 stage west tower with diagonal buttresses supporting pinnacles on set offs and later parapet with traceried and pinnacled crenellation, also with spoiled capped stair turret to north-west. Rather narrow west door with royal head stops to label, large later Perpendicular window over. Paired windows to belfry with Somerset tracery. Rood stair projection to north with memorial tablets applied to it and rood loft windows to south. Interior: Two sculpted feet above the chancel arch presumably indicate a colssal rood (circa 1000). Former porticus arch in north wall gives the width of the Anglo-Saxon church. Saxon chancel arch now masked by Norman chevron work of 1846 (by Rev H T Ellacombe). The Lady Chapel is rather smart Bristol work with cusped rear arches, 5 bay sedilia and piscina with crocketted labels, headstops, cusped arches and carved vaults behind. Printed west door with flanking cusp-headed windows, ball flower-stop. Stop fragments in the Lady Chapel include a carved hand of God, presumably from the Rood, and 2 coffin tops, one with effigy, from the chancel. Chancel and vestry both have stone vaulted ceilings. Nave roof of hammer-beam type, made from wood out of a wrecked ship (cedar boards on oak) 1867, designed by H N Ellacombe who also designed the pew ends. Marble reredos by John Wood II 1760. Numerous memorials inside the church, in chancel John Burlie died 1627, John Seymour died 1663 (female supporters and weepers), H T Ellacombe and 3 wives [in Gothic style presumably designed by him in the 1820s or 1830s although he lived till 1885 (inscribed as 188V)]. In the nave Francis Stone died 1641 (dated 1659), Stephen Roswell died 1650. Also incorporated in the fabric are 2 strapwork panels from Barrs Court (see Oldland CP) under stone memorial and over entrance into Lady Chapel. For further information see:- 1. Persner's Building of England series, "The Vale and the Forest of Dean". 2. Church Guide. 3. Rev H T Ellacombe "History of Bitton Parish" and related papers.

Listing NGR: ST6819169336


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
St Mary's Parish Bitton Church Guide
Ellacombe, Reverend H T , History of Bitton Parish
Verey, D , The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 2 The Vale and The Forest of Dean, (1970)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 01 Sep 1999
Reference: IOE01/01569/16
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John A Long. Source Historic England Archive
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