St Mary's Church, Kempley

Free Entry

Open daily from 10am-6pm Mar to Oct and from 10am-4pm Nov-Feb.


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 10am-6pm March to October and from 10am-4pm November to February.

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.