Photo Essay: St Peter’s Church Cheltenham

I first spotted the church from the 41 bus going to Cheltenham and was always tempted to climb out and take a closer look. The building just has the impressive look about it. However, do not be deceived because it is no longer a church, and it has not been since after 2008.  I took these images of the church and its graveyard in June 2016.

The church building  is situated on the south side of the Tewkesbury Road (Google Earth co-ordinates:  51° 54.525’N,  2° 5.445’W) . It is now signboarded as being a part of “The Rock Youth Charity“. 

The building dates from 1849, and is in a very good condition, all things considered. There is also a small war memorial on the site, but it is almost illegible. I spotted an old photograph at the base of the memorial and managed to find out who he was. His name was Private Jesse Jones and he was KIA on 9 May 1915

Portions of the churchyard still exists, although a lot has been paved over. There is a record of burials or names on the monuments in the churchyard and that is available at . From what I can read it was designed by Samuel (S.W.) Daukes, and the congregation came  from the opposite (north) side of the Tewkesbury Road. 

This portion on the side of the churchyard was fenced off and marked as being part of a project. 

The only grave I could see from the bus had been this one 

And it was a surprisingly nice headstone too. 

There are also a large number of flat slabs, and while I did not investigate them I expect that there may even be a family vault underneath. These you cannot see from the bus as they are hidden by the low wall outside the church.

Given the size of the church and the good condition it is in I could not help asking why it fell into disuse in the first place. However many churches end up closing because of a falling congregation or a building falling down or too much competition from charismatic churches. 

My curiosity was partly satisfied, I would love to see inside the building, but that will probably never happen. At least now I do not have to try to get pics from the bus anymore. 

*Update 08/06/2018*

While en route to Liverpool I stopped at the church and photographed the war memorial, unfortunately the weather was grey but I was really after the memorial name panels. My Private Jesse Jones is commemorated on this memorial. 

The memorial is referenced on the War Memorials Register of the Imperial War Museum.

Alas, our English weather tends to do it’s deed in all seasons and parts of it were already taking on a green hew, but the main thing is that hopefully it will once again become a focus for commemoration and no longer a stone object hidden amongst the trees.

DRW © 2016-2021. Created 07/06/2016, updated 08/06/2018

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