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Colesbourne church - - 129381.jpg
St James' Church
Grid reference: SO999132
Location: 51°49’5"N, 2°0’8"W
Post town: Cheltenham
Postcode: GL53
Dialling code: 01242
Local Government
Council: Cotswold
The Cotswolds

Colesbourne is a village and parish in the Rapsgate hundred of Gloucestershire. It lies within the Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The village is ten miles east-south-east from the city and county town of Gloucester, and on a 1,000-yard east to west section (defined by road entry signs) of the A435 road, which runs locally between Cheltenham six miles to the north, and Cirencester, seven miles to the south. The civil parish is 4½ miles from north to south. Withington parish is at the north and north-east; with North Cerney and Rendcomb at the south. At the north-west is Coberley parish; at the west, Elkstone; and at the east, Chedworth. The River Churn flows through the centre of the parish and at the north of the village, where it is joined by its tributary Hilcot Brook, which rises in the farther north parish of Dowdeswell.[1][2]

The village contains The Chequers Inn public house, adjacent to a restaurant, a roadside fuel station, and a village farm with a small retail park which includes a cookery school and wine merchant. At the north of the village is the parish church of St James, and north from this the house of Colesbourne Park estate. Within the parish is a game shoot estate.[1] Colesbourne is connected by bus to Cheltenham and Swindon.[3]

In 1872 John Marius Wilson recorded Colesbourne as being a parish in the Cirencester district, near the highest source of the River Thames and three miles east from the Roman road of "Ermine-street", (today's A417). Remains of a Roman villa had been found. There was a post office and fifty-two houses in a parish area of 2,200 acres. Colesbourne House was the seat of Henry John Elwes, who was patron of the ecclesiastical parish rectory.[4]


There are sixteen Grade-II listed buildings and structures in the parish. In the village is St James' Church, dating to the 12th century, with later 15th-century tower and chancel, which was largely rebuilt in 1852-53 for Henry John Elwes in early Perpendicular style.[4][5] Within the churchyard is an 18th-century tomb to John Brown (d.1760), Mary Brown (d.1736), and Mary Hayden (d.1809).[6] At the southeast of the church is the base of a mediæval cross with the remains of a 17th- or 18th-century stone sundial.[7] To the northeast of the church are three listed mid-19th-century coachhouses built for Henry John Elwes of Colesbourne Park.[8][9][10] On the A435 at the centre of the village is The Colesbourne Inn, a coaching inn dating to 1827, which was "built to serve the new Cheltenham [to] Cirencester turnpike".[11] To the west of the inn is the building listed as the 'Village Institute and Coach House', a c.1827 "former stables and coach house, now partly meeting hall".[12] Farther west, and adjacent, is the c.1850 'Village Stores and Post Office'.[13] To the east of The Colesbourne Inn is the c.17th-century Slys Cottage, a former shop and post office.[14] At the northwest of the village is Southbury Farmhouse, dating to the 17th century with 18th-century additions.[15] Adjacent to the farmhouse are mid- to late 18th century threshing barns and stables.[16] At the south of the parish is Rapsgate Park, a late 17th-century "large country house" which was "remodelled and enlarged in the 18th century and altered in 1903".[17] Next to Rapsgate Park is an 18th-century barn.[18] At the west and southeast of the village on the A435 are 19th-century milestones of iron plate.[19][20]

At the north of the village, beyond St James' Church, and bordered at the east by Hilcot Brook, dammed in 1922 to form a lake, is Colesbourne Park, a house with 30.0 acres (121,405.7 m²) of garden and an arboretum, which was home to the botanist and author Henry John Elwes (1846 – 1922). The park is significant for its display of 250 cultivars of snowdrops, particularly Galanthus elwesii which was identified by and named after Elwes.[21][22][23][24]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Extracted from "Colesbourne", Ordnance Survey map. Retrieved 28 January 2019
  2. Extracted from "Colesbourne" Grid Reference Finder. Retrieved 28 January 2019
  3. "Colesbourne Inn (after)", Bus Times. Retrieved 28 January 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wilson,John, Marius (1870-72) Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales
  5. National Heritage List 1341787: Church of St James
  6. National Heritage List 1088454: Brown Monument in the Churchyard Approximately 5 Metres North of Church of St James
  7. National Heritage List 1088453: Cross Base in the Churchyard Approximately 2 Metres South of Chancel to Church of St James
  8. National Heritage List 1341788: East Coach House at Colesbourne Park
  9. National Heritage List 1088455: West Coach House at Colesbourne Park
  10. National Heritage List 1171472: North Coach House at Colesbourne Park
  11. National Heritage List 1088450: Colesbourne Inn
  12. National Heritage List 1088451: Village Institute and Coach House
  13. National Heritage List 1341786: Village Stores and Post Office
  14. National Heritage List 1341785: Slys Cottage
  15. National Heritage List 1305597: Southbury Farmhouse
  16. National Heritage List 1392977: Threshing Barns and Stables at Southbury Farm
  17. National Heritage List 1088456: Rapsgate Park
  18. National Heritage List 1171491: Barn at Rapsgate Park
  19. National Heritage List 1088449: Milestone
  20. National Heritage List 1088452: Milestone
  21. "Colesbourne Park". Colesbourne Gardens LLP. 2011. 
  22. "Colesbourne Park", Gardens of Great Britain. Retrieved 28 January 2019
  23. Lacey, Stephen; "The whites of spring: seasonal snowdrops", The Telegraph, 21 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2019
  24. Shepherd, Charlotte;"Colesbourne Park is ready to reveal its snowdrops", Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 22January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2019

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Colesbourne)