Church of England Diocese of Gloucester Newnham

The church building

The first documentary evidence we have of a Christian church in Newnham - actually a chapel of ease - is in 1018 (so we're past the 1,000th anniversary!). It was sited on a tongue of sandstone cliff, known as Newnham's Ladder, jutting out into the Severn, and established as the parish church; this small building was replaced by a new 'great church' in the 13th century. But by 1366 it was in danger of being washed away by the force of the river and erosion of the land so was demolished and rebuilt, using a lot of the same material, and moving the Norman font, further up the hill on the site of our current church.

The church was used as a garrison stronghold by Royalist forces during the Civil War and attacked by the forces of the Roundhead Governor of Gloucester in 1643. Cannonballs have occasionally been unearthed in the churchyard.

By 1874 this church had fallen into such disrepair that a decision was made to rebuild much of it, and it was reconsecrated a year later. But in 1881 disaster struck and fire gutted most of the building, leaving just the medieval tower, the vestry containing the records and plate (the Newnham brigade made a great effort to save these first), and the Norman font, found in the ashes by the west door. The parishioners were devastated, but with great determination were able to have the church rebuilt (again) to exactly the same design within eight months. 

Our latest change is a wonderful addition. After generous grants and much dedication, prayer and fundraising our eight bells have been recast and were dedicated by the Bishop of Tewkesbury in November 2019. As part of the same project, the new ringing chamber, accessed by beautifully designed stairs at the back of the nave, has a glass screen, which brings more light into the church and allows the ringers to see out.