St Peter's Priory Church, Frocester

Recent Photograph of St Peter's Priory Church (Frocester)

As the name suggests, “Frocester” was a Roman town, and indeed it has been suggested that St Peter's church is on, or close to the site of the Roman occupation, now some distance from the present settlement of Frocester. A reference in 1313 to an “old minster”[1] at Frocester further suggests it was a place of some importance, and a tradition recorded in the 15th century states that a college of secular priests once resided here. The earliest reference for a church is c.1150, when it had parochial rights over Nympsfield, and it may also have served Coaley parish too.

A century or so later, in 1282, a chapel of ease was founded within Frocester village, dedicated to St Andrew. Between 1677 and 1691 this was rebuilt on a new site, and over the years the chapel co-existed with St Peter until the latter's demolition in 1952, during which time services have varied between being held exclusively in one or other building - or during some time periods, in both. Traditionally, of course, marriages would have taken place in the “mother” church, though even as early as 1600, the chapel of St Andrew is known to have being used for some marriages. So if you have an ancestor who was baptised, or married at Frocester, the service could have taken place in either building - though fortunately, there has only ever been one set of parish registers.

The most notable attempt to restore St Peter's Church was in 1849, to a design of Francis Niblett. The part of the church remaining owes its appearance largely to his design.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

[1] The Victoria County History of Gloucestershire, Volume 10 (1972), pp.175-177 (Frocester: Churches).

Image contributed by Alf Beard on 25th July 2002.
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