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GRO St Laurence's Church IMG 1445
What: Stroud's Parish Church
Where: GL5 1JL  At the end of The Shambles
Then: Although a chapel has stood here since 1279, the church is now an amalgam of rebuilding and additions over the centuries.
Now: Still serving Stroud as Parish church, St Laurence's has a remarkably well preserved history, and exhibits many beautiful carvings and sculptors from local craftsmen.

St. Laurence's is the parish church of Stroud. The tower and spire date from the 14th century, although the top of the spire was rebuilt in 1828. The rest of the church building is the result of a thorough rebuilding in 1866-68.

The old church is known from drawings. The original building seems to have consisted only of nave and chancel, to which the tower was added. A south aisle and porch were built about 1491, when Thomas Whittington left £40 for the purpose. A north aisle, divided from the nave by a row of Tuscan columns, was added in 1759 and extended to the east in 1787-88. The chancel was rebuilt c.1790 and a vestry room was built over the porch in 1806. By the mid 19th century, the church was filled with box pews and galleries. In 1789, an organ was built for the church by John Avery of Westminster.

The Victorian rebuilding of the church preserved only the 14th century tower and spire. All the rest was swept away and replaced by a new nave with north and south aisles and transepts, a chancel with a chapel on the south and a vestry on the north, and a south porch. The new building was designed by Wilson & Wilcox of Bath, and the cost of around £11,000 was paid for by subscription, and a grant of £1,000 from the town feoffees. A local craftsman, Joshua Wall, was responsible for all the carved decoration, including the pulpit and the font.

Inside, there are many Arts & Crafts features.

The church has a kneeling effigy of Thomas Stephens of Lypiatt Park (d.1613), who was Attorney General to Princes Henry and Charles (later King Charles I). The monument is thought to have been carved by Samuel Baldwin of Stroud, a local sculptor of high quality with a national reputation. In the churchyard is the grave of Lieutenant Joseph Delmont who was killed in a duel in 1807. He was the last man in England to be killed in a duel.

St Laurence Church History website

From January 2016, this website is managed by Stroud Local History Society

Revised 2018 EMW