|The Churches Pilgrimage|
This walk commences at the spot where the established church first had a presence in Coleford. Right in the middle of the town a chapel of ease was built as part of the Church at Newland. The walk takes you to the sites of former and present religious establishments including the locally known "Tickle Belly Chapel" and refers you to others further out on the perimeters of the Parliamentary Parish.
|The first Anglican church in Coleford is thought
to be the chapel shown in this drawing of 1797, situated in the Market Place
on the site where the present clock tower stands.
This was a chapelry of the parish church in Newland, at a time when Coleford was not a parish in its own right. From records preserved at the Gloucester Archives Office, it would appear that baptisms were first recorded here in 1767, and it was not until the parish of Coleford was founded in 1872 that marriages were licenced to take place in Coleford. Before this date one had to go to the parish church at Newland to be married! An old burials register exists for this chapel between the years 1784-1785.
|The old chapel was replaced by St. John's church
in 1821, and is shown in this early photograph.
The photograph can be dated as being between 1867, when the new Market Hall was built, (the bell cote of which can be seen to the right), and 1882, when the church was demolished.
|All that remains now is the clock tower in
the Market Place, as seen in this photograph taken from the same viewpoint
A replacement church of St. John's was built on the hillside a little way from the town centre.
|An aerial view, showing the new St. John's Church (upper left) and the old clock tower in the Market Place|
|The new St. John's Church, built in 1882 and
designed by S. Gambier-Parry.
A tinted photograph taken in the early 1900s
Church Walk continued
page design by Rod Neep