St Mary de Crypt - Southgate Street, Gloucester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 51.847 W 002° 14.843
30U E 551823 N 5746192
Quick Description: This church is located on the south east side of Southgate Street, at the junction with Greyfriars Street, in the city of Gloucester.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/26/2014 12:26:26 PM
Waymark Code: WMKDMC
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 6

Long Description:

The church's website tells us:

St Mary de Crypt is known for its association with famous people – some of whom became international superstars. These include Robert Raikes who founded the Sunday School movement; George Whitefield who was a renowned preacher responsible for the Evangelical Revival in the USA and with the Wesley brothers was one of the founders of Methodism; and Jemmy Wood, infamous for his penny-pinching and apparently the inspiration for Dickens’ Scrooge

St Mary de Crypt Church and the adjoining Tudor Old Crypt Schoolroom is currently part of an exciting redevelopment programme known as Discover DeCrypt. Discover DeCrypt will be a centre for Christian spirituality and heritage for children and families.

Weekly services take place in the church on Fridays at 1.00pm between April - October. We also host occasional civic services, most notably the annual Gloucester Day Service in September each year when the city celebrates the Raising of the Siege of Gloucester in 1643.

St Mary de Crypt Church is open during summer months on Monday to Friday from 11.00am - 3.00pm, when it is staffed by the Gloucester Civic Trust to enable visitors to encounter this architectural and historical gem among Gloucester’s churches.

Norman Church
Little is known of the cruciform Norman church other than that it was consecrated in 1137 and that the floor plan had dimensions similar to those of the present church. It was illustrated in the 1455 Rental of Gloucester.
Perpendicular Church 
The present church in the Perpendicular Style, which evolved very early in Gloucester, dates from between 1461 and 1490. It was re-built on the Foundations of the Norman Church when Henry Dene, The Patron, was prior of the Priory of Llanthony-St Mary. However the Victoria History of Gloucestershire (1988) says that it was new in 1401. The half rounded Responds (half pier bonded into a wall and carrying one end of an arch) and the round arched door on the West Wall are all that remain in the church of its Norman predecessor. The Lancet Windows in the South Choir Aisle date from the 13th Century. St Mary de Crypt is the only one of the 12 mediaeval churches to have had a crypt and unusually to have one of such dimensions, here extending under the whole of the floor area, although from the East Walls to immediately to the west of the central tower it is fully occupied with burial vaults. Verey (1970) states that the only Norman work to survive is some arches in the blocked off portion of the crypt, which lies under the South Aisle of the Nave. It seems possible that this area is a Charnel House into which the burials in the Norman church were removed when the present church was built. The accessible chambers under the nave and its north aisle were in use by 1576 as an Inn; during the Civil War, at the time of the Siege in 1643, they were the main magazine of the Parliamentary defenders of the City against the armies of King Charles I. As recently as 1842 they were used for warehousing.  This cruciform church has been described as “A Cathedral in Miniature” because its large Choir is taller and longer than the nave.

The church is a Grade I listed building with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

Parish church. First recorded c1140. Mainly C14, late C15 and early C16 incorporating some C12 and C13 structure and features. Extensive restoration, 1844-5, by SW Daukes and JR Hamilton, further restoration in 1866, 1876, 1903, and 1908 when the tower battlements and pinnacles were removed as unsafe. Ashlar, dressed stone in courses, slate roofs.

PLAN: cruciform; with aisled nave of three bays, south porch, crossing with tall central tower, transepts of one-bay, and chancel of three bays with slightly shorter north and south chapels, a crypt below the west end of the nave and vaults below the chancel.

EXTERIOR: the west front facing street has a steeply pitched gable-end wall to nave and aisles, a renewed or re-cut central, semicircular arched doorway, C12 but mostly renewed or re-cut in C19, with nook-shafts and moulded arch with billet hoodmould enclosing a tympanum carved with Agnus Dei in bas-relief above a lintel carved with diaper; above the doorway a large, inserted, late C14, six-light window with foiled panel tracery; on each side, lighting the aisles, a late C14 three-light window with similar tracery; coped gable with cross at the apex. On the south side of nave is C14, two storey, end-gabled porch with diagonal corner buttresses with offsets, arched doorway, and a single-light window above to the upper room; in the re-entrant angle with the nave on the west side of the porch an octagonal stair turret with a moulded string course at nave eaves level, a crenellated cornice and capped by a stone spire surmounted by a foliated finial; in the gable-end of each transept is a tall, C14, four-light window with foiled panel tracery. C14 central tower of two stages with slightly projecting, panelled corner buttresses; on each face of the tower a full height three-light window divided at mid-height by a transom, with infilled panels below the transom and open tracery panels above to the belfrey stage; crowning moulding formerly surmounted by crenellated parapets with tracery panels and pinnacles. The chancel with a clerestory window to each bay and flanking the east gable-end wall diagonal corner buttresses with three offsets each surmounted by a pinnacle with gablets and a crocketed spirelet; in the east wall a very tall C15 four-light window with Perpendicular tracery and hoodmould; in the apex of the gable above the window a niche and a cross on the apex; set back from the east gable wall on both sides the chapels, each of two bays, with lean-to roofs flanking the chancel; in the short projection of the chancel on each side a two-light window with a central transom and foiled lights; diagonal buttresses with two offsets at the corners of the chapels and in the east wall of each chapel an early C14 four-light window with reticulated tracery in the south chapel and a C15 window with Perpendicular tracery in the north chapel.

INTERIOR: C13 semicircular west responds to the nave arcades with moulded capitals and waterholding bases otherwise the arcades, with slender cruciform chamfered piers, rebuilt in late C14; in the porch a ribbed vault; above the crossing a stone lierne vault; in the chancel late C14 arcades with clerestory added in early C15; in both arcades the western piers rise from the crowns of the ogee arches over the doorways set in the stone; arcaded screens separate the chancel from the chapels and in early C20 similar screens inserted at the west end of both chapels. In the east bay of the chancel on the south side a triple sedilia and a piscina, and in the east bay on the north side a single sedilia and an Easter sepulchre, all with elaborate ogee canopies set against panels of niches with canopies and with crowning string courses on both sides which continue to the east and form central transoms in the two-light windows in the east sides of the eastern bays. On the east wall on each side of the altar a restored statue niche with an elaborate polygonal, gabled and crested canopy; the reredos installed 1889 is a triple arcade of carved Caen stone arcade with gablets and crocketed pinnacles enclosing panels of Venetian mosaic with figures of Christ and apostles; in the altar a medieval stone mensa was replaced during restoration of 1844-5; on the wall surfaces vestiges of early C16 wall paintings. Above the chancel the early C16 timber roof has carved wooden bosses and angels playing musical instruments; in the south chapel a C15 piscina, refitted c1930, with panelling by H Stratton Davis, as a memorial to Robart Raikes; timber boarded roofs above both chapels.

STAINED GLASS: includes the east window and a south window in the south chapel by Rogers of Worcester, c1857: and in the chancel the east window, said to be a copy of the medieval glass in Drayton Beauchamp church, Buckinghamshire.

FITTINGS: include early to mid C16 pulpit carved with renaissance ornament and a sounding board; C17 communion table in south transept, early C18 stone baluster form font, and early C18 civic mace rest.

MONUMENTS: include in the south chapel a recessed wall tomb reputed to be for Richard Manchester, d.1460, with an ogee arch and Perpendicular panels; tomb chest with effigies removed of Sir Thomas and Lady Bell, d.1567, with shields in lozenges and a moulded top; wall monument to Dorothy Snell, d.1746, by Peter Scheemakers, a mourning female figure with a portrait medallion on which leans a weeping putto with overturned cornucopia and torch; in the north chapel a Baroque monument to Daniel Lysons, d.1681, with frontal kneeling figure in a segmental-arched recess framed by barleysugar columns supporting an entablature, with broken segmental pediment enclosing an achievement of arms, by Reeve of Gloucester; on a window sill the sculpted bust from a former monument to Richard Lane, Mayor of Gloucester, d.1667; in the north transept restored brasses to John and Joan Cooke, d.1544, founders of the Crypt Grammar School; in the north aisle brasses of William Henshawe, d.1519, and his two wives, taken from St Michael's Church, Westgate Street, in 1959; late C15 grave-slab with incised cross and inscription to Isabel Pole, wife of a mayor of Gloucester. The late perpendicular work is particularly fine, and its patronage is attributed to Henry Dene, Prior of Llanthony from 1461 to 1501. A fine example of a town church, prominent in views down Westgate Street.

Services are spread across a group of churches and the times and locations of services can be found here.

Building Materials: Stone

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reelcutter visited St Mary de Crypt - Southgate Street, Gloucester, UK 3/8/2015 reelcutter visited it