St Margaret of Antioch Church, Alderton
St Margaret of Antioch Church, Alderton

The small village of Alderton stands on the border of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. In fact, it is so close to the country boundary that there is a local tradition that a landslip 'moved' the village into the next county.

We know that there was a Saxon chapel here before the Norman Conquest, but the attractive, large church we see today is almost entirely 14th century. That church probably did not include a tower, which was added in the 15th century.

We know that St Margarets was a chapel associated with Winchcombe Abbey in 1125, and the first known rector was in 1283. By that time the chapel had become a full-fledged parish church.

The only surviving feature of the original Saxon church is a worn font bowl, found during Victorian restoration work and now stored in the south porch.

14th-century statue of St Margaret
14th-century statue of St Margaret

The current font is not that much younger, however, dating to the late 12th or early 13th century. The chancel arch is of a similar date, with a pointed arch but undecorated capitals. A few nicely carved fragments of Norman stonework is set in the south wall of the chancel. There are three medieval niches, one on each side of the chancel arch and another over the south door. The south doorway niche houses a very worn, headless statue of St Margaret.

The nave arcade is 14th century, with slender arches and columns set on octagonal bases. Set into the south wall of the chancel is a 14th-century piscina and in the window over the piscina are several fragments of medieval glass.

Among the memorials is a very nice tablet to Rev Henry Higford (d. 1795). It is fascinating to read the inscription, which seems to focus almost exclusively on building up Higford's ancestry. The text reads in part:

'His family was, originally, of Middleton Huggefore in Shropshire. They, afterwards, settled in Warwickshire and have since resided at Dixton in this county. In the Possession of considerable estates, above 500 years. Many of his ancestors lie buried in this Chancel. In memory of them, and more especially, in Remembrance of The late Worthy Rector of this Parish. By whose death the male Branch of this ancient House became extinct, this Tablet was erected, By his Executor and Residuary Legatee'.

Just outside the churchyard, a stone's throw from the west tower, is a small timber-framed cottage, whitewashed, with a thatched roof. A blue plaque on the wall tells that this was the residence of Bertha Nind (1883-1977) who wrote her diaries of life in the village while living here from 1901-12. This is just one of the many, many pretty cottages that make Alderton such an attractive village to explore.

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About Alderton
Address: Church Road, Alderton, Gloucestershire, England, GL20 8NR
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the end of Church Street. Parking along the street. The church is usually open daylight hours.
Location map
OS: SP002331
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

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