All Saints Church, Spetchley

Recent Photograph of All Saints Church (Spetchley)

The earliest known record of a settlement here is from the 9th century, when it was called Spæcleahtun. In 988 a manuscript in Worcester Cathedral archives mentions Bishop Oswald granting land to monks at Spetchley, on which presumably they built a chapel for worship. The first mention of a church was in 1291, and the first appearance of its dedication to ‘All Saints’ appears in 1330.

The parish records date from 1539, although the Order in Council for burials to take place did not occur until 1561.

The exterior walls of the church record its varied history. Groves on the stonework around several of the doors have been made by the sharpening of weapons - at a time when the churchyard would have been the assembly point for the local ‘militia’ for training, and in contrast scratched initials and crosses possibly recording betrothals, pilgrimages, pledges, or maybe even business deals.

A descendant of the Berkeley family of Berkeley in Gloucestershire acquired the estate in 1606 from its former owners, the Sheldons. Their private chapel was built in 1614 onto the south side of the church; the stone-carved shield above its west entrance doorway depicting their arms is just visible in this photograph. The main entrance to the church is however through the ancient timbered porch in the west wall, underneath the tower.

Spetchley Church is no longer open for worship, and has been vested in the Churches Conservation Trust. These notes have been compiled with reference to their leaflet recording its history.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Image contributed by Mel Lockie on 4th April 2008.
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