This simple Norman church in Gloucestershire, remote from the village it once served, has the oldest timber roof of any building in England. Its greatest glory, however, comes from having some of the best preserved medieval wall paintings in Britain. Those in the chancel are particularly rare, dating from the early 12th century, and are the most complete set of Romanesque frescos in northern Europe.
The paintings are a vivid reminder of a time when church interiors were covered in such paintings. They tell stories from the Bible, depict the lives of saints, and show terrifying visions of demons and eternal damnation.
This site is managed by the Friends of Kempley Church.
Read more about the history of St Mary's Church, Kempley.
Before You Go
Opening Times: The Church is open daily from March to October from 10am - 6pm and on Saturdays and Sundays during November and February from 10am to 4pm. Access during December and January is by appointment only.
Parking: There is limited free car parking available on the roadside opposite the church.
School Visits/Large Parties: Booking is essential; please email firstname.lastname@example.org to advise the Friends of Kempley Churches of your proposed visit.
Please be aware: English Heritage does not permit drone flying from or over sites in our care, except by contractors or partners undertaking flights for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and permissions, and are operating under controlled conditions.
Plan a Great Day Out
Just nine miles away from St Mary's Church is Goodrich Castle, a magnificently preserved medieval fortress. It offers a fascinating history, spectacular views from the battlements and a delightful tearoom.