St Mary's Church, Kempley

The exterior of St Mary's Church Kempley.
A close up of a stain glass window.
The exterior of St Mary's Church Kempley with the grave yard.
Wall paintings in St Mary's Church Kempley.

Free Entry

Open 10am-6pm, daily, from March until October. Winter viewing available by appointment only


Gloucestershire, GL18 2AT

Before You Go

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.

For information sheets describing the wall paintings, click on these links: The Wheel of Life,  Saints and the Virgin, The Apocalypse, The Chancel, The Chancel Arch and Easter Drama.

Before You Go

Opening Times: The Church is open daily from 1st March to 31st October from 10am to 6pm and every weekend during November and February from 10am to 4pm. Please call us to arrange a visit by appointment in December and January on 0117 975 0700. 

Please note; Church Services will be held on 10th June, 8th July, 12th August and 19th September at 6.30pm.   

Parking: There is limited free car parking available on the roadside opposite the church.

School Visits/Large Parties: Booking is essential; please email to advise the Friends of Kempley Churches of your proposed visit. 

Please be aware: English Heritage does not permit drone flying from or over sites in our care, except by contractors or partners undertaking flights for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and permissions, and are operating under controlled conditions.


Plan a Great Day Out

St Mary's Church sits roughly halfway between Rotherwas Chapel, the family place of worship for the Bodenham family, and Odda's Chapel, one of the most complete surviving Saxon churches in England.

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.

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About us

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.

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Our target is to become completely self-funding by 2023. Our confidence in achieving this is based on our track record. During the past 10 years, our commercial income has doubled and we have raised nearly £60m in donated income.

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