Church of England Diocese of Gloucester Turkdean

About Us

The parish and hamlet of Turkdean stands in rolling Cotswold countryside between Northleach and Bourton-on-the-Water.

Turkdean is now a small community of less than 40 dwellings and about 60 souls, scattered across the hills and valleys, but with an (unsignposted) concentration of houses around the Church of All Saints which, together with the nearby K6 telephone box, represent the village's only public buildings.

Although small, the community's history is lengthy. The popular Channel 4 archaeology programme "Time Team" dedicated their Bank Holiday weekend "live" dig in August 1997 (Series 5 Episode 4) to the excavation of the remains of a large Roman villa just outside the village. Although the existence of the Roman community gives credence to the possibility that there may have been a Saxon church at Turkdean, there is now little physical evidence of that and All Saints Church today represents a 15th, or possibly early 16th century rebuilding of a Norman church that originally had been dedicated to St Mary by the knight Robert d'Oilgi, whose ownership of the manor was recorded in the Doomsday Book.

The oldest standing fabric of the church is now the nave which dates from the early 12th century structure, but remnants of the original Norman building were built back in to the walls of the church at the time of the 15th century rebuilding. It was at this time that a new South aisle was constructed and the tower was added. Significant improvement and refurbishment programmes were carried out in 1839 and in 1897, when the population of the village peaked at over 300.

Further renovations were undertaken in 1967 and it was during these works that, regrettably, the early 14th century wall-paintings, including a large figure that was probably a representation of St Christopher, together with a large early 17th century armorial over the chancel arch were over-painted with whitewash. As a result, only a very small ephemeral section of this decoration now survives. (An expert report commissioned in 2008 concluded that restoration of these wall-paintings could only partially restore portions of these paintings and on this basis the wall-painting restoration project has not been taken forward thus far.) A more recent programme of refurbishment completed in 2018 has been carried out with rather greater consideration for the ancient fabric.

The Christian community in this small village continues to worship God in this beautiful building and now holds a slightly eccentric BCP Matins service with Holy Communion at 10.30am on the fourth Sunday of each month. In addition to this monthly Matins service, Christmas is celebrated with a candlelit service of readings and carols, a special Benefice service is also held "in the round" on Maundy Thursday and a "Floral Choral" Evensong is usually held in June when the parishes of the Northleach Benefice come together with impressive floral displays filling the Church and glorious music from the Benefice choir.

The Church is open every day from 9:00am until 5:00pm (or dusk if earlier in Winter.)

In common with the other parishes of the Northleach Benefice, All Saints Turkdean entered an interregnum period following the departure of our former Rector, Rev David Ford to Bromsgrove in June 2019. However, we are delighted that Bishop David Jennings is "looking after us" during the consequent Vacancy.