St George's Avenue, Kings Stanley GL10 3HJ
The parish church of Kings Stanley is situated north of the village near Stanley Mill. The church originated in the 12th century but has been enlarged several times, especially in 1876. It has striking furnishings and fittings and a fine organ. It stands in a large churchyard, with many interesting monuments and inscriptions.
The Church is open between 9am and 5pm. Visitors are most welcome.
Saint George’s Church has been a place of Christian worship for more than 800 years. The site has been occupied for much longer. Hundreds of flints from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and bronze ages show that several thousand years ago people were manufacturing tools here.
At about the time of Domesday book there was a Lord's timber hall just west of the church, with a moat around it. A few decades later the hall was rebuilt, and the moat enlarged. A bridge led across the moat to a small stone church. The remains of this church can still be seen; the west tower, the round-headed west door with zig-zag ornament, the small window in the nave, and the north door are all Norman work.
In the late 14th century the church had a south aisle added, and also a porch. Behind the wall which separates the south aisle from the Lady Chapel, can be seen a piscina, an alcove with a small basin for washing the communion vessels, showing that there was once an altar at the east end of the south aisle.
On the interior north wall of the nave are 14th century corbels. One of these is angled and marks the east end of the original nave. Excavations uncovered a large medieval stone hall just north of the church on the site of the Roman villa. This must have replaced the moated hall which had fallen down by the early 14th century.
By the 19th century the church was crowded with pews and galleries. By the 1870s the Church of England was being influenced by the ‘Oxford Movement’, which tried to return to medieval ritual, decoration and architecture. The Rector of King’s Stanley at the time, John Gibson, was an enthusiast for the new movement and initiated a restoration in 1874 which was completed in 1876. The architect was the well-known GF Bodley, though Gibson himself had a hand in the design. Gibson and subscribers paid the cost of the restoration of the chancel, and Sir Samuel Marling paid for the nave and south aisle. The Victorian Church is a fine example of its kind, with a painted wagon roof and tie-beams favoured by Bodley.
Fine organ cases are somewhat rare in this country, and one certainly does not expect to find a masterpiece in a village church. The organ was made by Thomas Liddiatt, a village carpenter: it was installed in 1876 with one manual and pedals and was completed in 1885. Thomas Liddiatt went on to found an organ-building business in Leonard Stanley and he and his son built about 40 organs. The niches above the organ containing carved angels donated by Mrs Joseph in memory of Basil Belmore Joseph.
Carolyn Heighway-Bryant, Church Warden
Vanessa Hall, Church Warden