St Kenelm's Church, Sapperton, Gloucestershire

Church Lane, Sapperton, Gloucestershire, GL7 6LG
How to find us | Access information
Opening times:
Open every day during daylight hours.
  • Overview
  • Map
  • What's nearby

Open every day during daylight hours. 

With its spire visible from the surrounding countryside, the picturesque St Kenelm’s Church sits in the heart of a typically charming Cotswolds village.

Walking into the church, you are immediately struck by the unusual light and airy interior – a wonderful example of early Georgian design with vast windows overlooking the churchyard.

As you enter, there are a series of beautifully carved and highly unusual Jacobean pew-ends depicting male and female figures. Not originally from the church, they were donated by The 1st Earl of Bathurst from the banqueting hall of the nearby Sapperton Manor House when it was demolished in 1730.

St Kenelm’s is renowned for its collection of ornate memorials dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  The chancel houses several 17th-century wall tablets and one dated 1584 which was made for the Poole family. The finest of these memorials made for the Poole family is that of Sir Henry Poole (d. 1616) and his wife Anne.

In the east wall of south transept there is a marble and stone monument to Sir Robert Atkyns junior (d.1711), a historian and politician who was best known for his publication 'The Ancient and Present State of Gloster-shire' (1712)- the county’s first printed history. The monument by Edward Stanton shows Atkyns reclining on one elbow, with elaborate carved structure above and long inscription at the back. The monument shows Atkyns left arm placed on a closed book- most likely his life’s work, mentioned in the epitaph and published a year after his death.

Near the south chancel wall is the grave of Rebekah Mason, the first wife of the astronomer Charles Mason (d. 1787). Together with the surveyor Jeremiah Dixon, Charles surveyed a boundary to resolve a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. After Pennsylvania abolished slavery, the Mason-Dixon line served as a demarcation line for the legality of slavery and symbolised a cultural boundary between the North and the South of the United States.

Whilst there is evidence that there has been a church on the site since 1190, the current church was largely rebuilt in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries!

  • Access information
    Narrow lane with limited parking. Access via gate with single step and then a downward sloping track through the churchyard to the south porch. 
  • Disabled access information
    Access via gate with single step and then a downward sloping track through the churchyard to the south porch. Level access from the churchyard into the church. 
  • Facilities & Hire

    You are welcome to hire this church for your event. From music concerts to exhibtions to photo shoots, our churches are home to an array of activities. 

    Sapperton St. Kenelm's has electric lighting which can be switched in the Porch and in the Vestry. Please make sure all lights are switched off before you leave. This church is also heated - please do contact us to arrange heating in advance of your event. Thank you!

  • Directions
    4 miles from the A433 Tetbury to Cirencester road. Follow the signs for Sapperton. Turn right down Church Lane. Pass the school and continue straigh . Take the second left after the school. You will see the churchyard immediatley on your left. 
  • Transport

    The nearest train station is Kemble which is 6 miles away. 

    For further transport information visit Plan Your Journey | Traveline

  • History & Further Information
    When visiting the use please pick up one of our walk around guides, or take a peek in the colourful cloth bags on the end of some of the woderful pews, to find out about the interesting history of the church and the stories that are linked to the building. 
  • Volunteering Opportunities

    We'd love to hear from anyone with any time to give at Sapperton St. Kenelm's. All offers of support are very welcome, but we especially need help with

    • Stewarding through the day or at events
    • Offering talks and tours
    • Preventive conservation and housekeeping
    • Researching stories
    • Administrative support 

    To find out more drop us a line and just mention 'Sapperton volunteering' in the subject line. Thank you!

  • Community information

    Sapperton Church Plan

    Click on the link below to download a copy of the church plan which sets out the shared vision for the future of the church.

    Church plans are a living document which combines information on the church’s history and its current use, outlines maintenance and repair needs, combines this with feedback and recommendations from the community, and concludes with an action plan setting out agreed short, medium and long term goals to support the sustainable use and care of the church.

    This is a working document that will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any feedback or if you want to contact us about the church plan please drop us a line. When you write, please do give the name of the church, thank you!

    Sapperton Church Plan