History of St Michael's Church

The age of the church is uncertain but the herringbone walling on the north wall indicates Saxon origins, while a large corner stone on south east corner is said to have Roman lifting work showing reuse of Roman stones in the building.  It is not listed in Domesday book.  During the middle ages the church was enlarged, by the Chancel and crypt, and the wall paintings are said to be 12/ 13th century.  The Crypt has two aumbries and may have been used for Masses for the Dead. The first recorded priest dated 1197, was “ joseph, clerico de Duntesborne”.  The advowson was held by the Abbey of Dore in 1332.  In 1513 after the suppression of the monastries, the Bishop of Winchester bought most of the parish and gave it to Corpus Christi college in Oxford, who have kept the advowson ever since.  The Church decayed until 1586 when it was repaired again by Richard Woodward and the Tower repaired with an inscription dated 1587.  The crypt by then would have ceased “Roman Masses”, and it is possible it was turned into a Charnel house and the outside steps blocked up.  Better records were then kept.  The outside steps were reinstated in the 1870s. 

The Chancel arch was altered in 1872 but fell into disrepair again, until it was again substantially restored by Sidney Gambier Parry who came to live in the rectory in the 1930s.  He used some discarded panels found in the Bathurst Timber Yard to replace the seating.  Some think the pews were the originals from the church as they fitted so well .  The Misericordes probably came from Cirencester abbey’ 

Further details can be obtained from Anne Carvers book “ the Story of Duntisbourne Rous” available in the church ( £2), Simon Jenkins “Englands 1000 best Churches”, or David Vereys book “ Cotswold Churches”.

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