The Church

The church was built on land given by Lord Fitzhardinge of Berkeley as a Chapel of ease under the Patron of the Abbots and Covenant of St Peters of Gloucester until 1540. It was then under the jurisdiction of the Crown until 1867 when it came under the Diocese of Gloucester.

Nothing is known of the early church building but records show that it has had Vicars and Chaplains since 1250.

The earliest part of the present church is the C14th perpendicular tower, with embattled parapet and traceried panels and gargoyles at each corner.

The clock mounted in the tower dates from 1935. It was erected by public subscription to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and replaced an earlier clock. The tower contains a ring of six bells.

At a vestry meeting held in February 1857 notice was given to determine the pulling down and rebuilding of the nave and side aisle of the church. In addition, space was to be made available on the north side to build a vestry. The rebuilding was to be to the plans and specifications made by Messrs Jaques & Sons, Gloucester. The building was carried out by Silvanus Watkins, who also built the row of cottages in the village.

Not all was discarded with the rebuilding of the church. A brass of 1630 on the north wall of the chancel shows Daniel Stayno, his wife, two daughters and one son, with a baby in a cradle with a skull over it to show that it died in infancy. Daniel Stayno was Vicar of Coaley from February 1628 until his death in 1630. Other early memorials were relocated in the ringing chamber in the base of the tower.

A window in the south wall of the chancel commemorates a former school master. It depicts King Alfred visiting his school in Winchester. The Latin inscription reads “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”

There is evidence of a burial path through the village that was used to bring bodies to the church from outlying hamlets. The parish bier has been restored and is situated at the west end of the church.

On the southwest buttress of the tower is a two faced sundial. The carvings have suffered the ravages of time and are only just discernible. Only one gnomon remains.

Around the top of the tower are a number of grotesques and gargoyles. On the east wall is an anthropophagus (a man eating a grotesque) which is one of only two in the county. On the west wall are two obscene grotesques.