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Didmarton St Lawrence Church - geograph.org.uk - 1690045.jpg
Didmarton St Lawrence Church has an unusual open bell tower.
Grid reference: ST819875
Location: 51°35’10"N, 2°15’43"W
Population: 415  (2011)
Post town: Badminton
Postcode: GL9
Dialling code: 01454
Local Government
Council: Cotswold
The Cotswolds

Didmarton is a village in Gloucestershire, about six miles south-west of Tetbury. The parish is close to the border of Wiltshire to the south.

Immediately to the north is a smaller village, Oldbury-on-the-Hill, where the original parish church stands: Oldbury was once the dominant settlement.

Parish church

St Laurence's church at Didmarton (Church of England) is an early English building with a later open bell tower, unusual in England.[1] Archaeological work at Didmarton church has suggested an origin in the 12th century.[2] The church's dedication is to St Laurence of Canterbury, whose feast day is on 3 February.[3]

The village's Congregational church is a square stone building with arched sash windows.

Another Anglican church at the western end of the village, once dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, has been converted to a private house, but its churchyard is still consecrated ground.[4]


Didmarton, the Seat of Robert Codrington, Esq. from Britannia Illustrata, 1709

A military survey of Didmarton in 1522 shows that it was then a very small village, overshadowed by the neighbouring Oldbury-on-the-Hill.[3]

In the 16th century, the manor of Didmarton was owned by the Seacole family. In 1571, Simon Codrington married Agnes, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Seacole, and the estate thus passed to their son Robert Codrington. It was sold to Charles Somerset, 4th Duke of Beaufort, in about 1750, but has had a succession of other owners since then.

Together with Oldbury, the parish was subject to enclosure in 1829.[5][6]

According to The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868):[7]

DIDMARTON, a parish in the upper division of the hundred of Grumbald's Ash, in the county of Gloucester, 5 miles S.W. of Tetbury, and 9 N.E. of Yate station. It is situated near the river Avon, and consists of a few farmhouses. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, annexed to the rectory of Oldbury-on-the-Hill. The church, dedicated to St Lawrence, is an ancient stone edifice in the early English style of architecture. The charities amount to £11 per annum. There is a school for the children of this parish and that of Oldbury-on-the-Hill. Roman coins are frequently found. The Duke of Beaufort is lord of the manor. A fair was once held here on St Lawrence's Day (3 February), which is now transferred to Lansdown, near Bath.

Public houses

The village's present-day pub, the King's Arms, was first mentioned in 1772. The former George Inn dated from at least 1791, and the former Compasses Inn (or Three Compasses) from 1798.[3]

Local names

Parish registers from 1674 to 1991 are held at the Gloucestershire Record Office.[8]

Surnames in the marriages register for 1675 to 1751 are: Acton, Allen, Biggs, Bishop, Brooks, Brush, Burcombe, Byrton, Carey, Chapman, Chappel(l), Codrington, Collings, Davies, Drew, Emely, Frith, Gingill, Harris, Hatchett, Heaven, Iddols, Kingscott, Lewis, Milsum, Minchin, Porter, Powel, Power, Robbins, Scrope, Shipton, Smart, Sparkes, Taunton, Thompson, Walls, Watts, Weekes, White, and Witchell.[9]

The surnames recorded in the parish graveyard, and in that of the Didmarton Congregational church, include: Baker, Bickerton, Borham, Cox, Gould, Hatherell, Inane, Lucas, Pritchard, Short, Rice, Robbins, Till, and Tuck.[4]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Didmarton)


  1. photograph of St Lawrence's Church, Didmarton Template:Webarchive online at wishful-thinking.org.uk (accessed 13 April 2008)
  2. Bryant, R., 'Observations at Didmarton church, 1981' in Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, vol. 101 (1983) pp. 183-185
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Didmarton: A ramble through history (Didmarton Parish Council, 2000)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Some Memorial Inscriptions - Didmarton, Gloucestershire, St Michael's & St Lawrence's Churchyards and Didmarton Congregational Church Template:Webarchive online at wishful-thinking.org.uk (accessed 13 April 2008)
  5. AN ACT for inclosing Lands in the Manors and Parishes of Didmarton and Oldbury-on-the-Hill (HMSO, 1829, 18pp.)
  6. Didmarton and Oldbury on the Hill enclosure at nationalarchives.gov.uk (accessed 13 April 2008)
  7. Hamilton, N. E. S. (ed.), The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (London, J. S. Virtue, 1868)
  8. PARISH: Didmarton (St Lawrence) - abstract of available parish records online at genuki.org.uk (accessed 13 April 2008)
  9. Didmarton, Gloucestershire, Marriages 1675-1751 Template:Webarchive online at glosgen.co.uk (accessed 13 April 2008)