This simple Norman church in Gloucestershire, remote from the village it once served, has the oldest timber roof of any building in England. Its greatest glory, however, comes from having some of the best preserved medieval wall paintings in Britain. Those in the chancel are particularly rare, dating from the early 12th century, and are the most complete set of Romanesque frescos in northern Europe.
The paintings are a vivid reminder of a time when church interiors were covered in such paintings. They tell stories from the Bible, depict the lives of saints, and show terrifying visions of demons and eternal damnation.
This site is managed by the Friends of Kempley Church.
Read more about the history of St Mary's Church, Kempley.
Before You Go
Opening Times: The Church is open daily throughout the summer. Group bookings and winter appointments can be made by calling 0117 975 0714 / 0709. View details.
Parking: There is limited free car parking available on the roadside opposite the church.
School Visits/Large Parties: Booking is essential - please call the number above.
Plan a Great Day Out
Just nine miles away from St Mary's Church is Goodrich Castle, a magnificently preserved medieval fortress. It offers a fascinating history, spectacular views from the battlements and a delightful tearoom.
English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and places - from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to a Cold War bunker. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year. The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 0744722, registered in England.
- 66% Self-generated income
- 20% One off capital grant
- 14% Government funding