St Mary, Norton
Churchwardens: Simon Trapnell 01452 731422 Jean Smith 01452 730265 Church postcode: GL2 9LS
Known locally as the ‘disappearing church’ as it appears to dip below the horizon as you pass along the A38, the church sits in a prominent position on top of a hill. From the top of the tower both Gloucester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey can be seen, and at Easter and Advent, we place a lit cross or star there that can be seen for miles around. On Good Friday we have a walk of witness carrying a Cross from the village green to the church (about a mile), stopping to recall the Easter story along the way.
The church has been a beacon of witness and a gathering place for people for centuries. In fact, the oldest parts of the building date from about 1250. In the mid 1870’s a significant amount of restoration work took place and in more recent times the whole roof was retiled. Last year the back of the church has been made more flexible and a discreet sink installed. There is a film screen that we can use during services and for events. The building is in good condition and a team of volunteers help maintain the churchyard.
The church, like most in the Benefice, has organised some wonderful flower festivals and similar events, like its Christmas tree festival when the church is decorated with trees and lights. Each tree is created by local groups, some with accompanying words. By way of example, this is the commentary that went with our (2015) tree for Syria.
It has instigated some benefice initiatives, particularly in relation to Africa (like a harvest of tools, Send a Cow and community linking with western Kenya) and others that help us engage with the developing world. Compared to when people gather for a service, the church looked very different when stacked with hundreds of boxes! These had been filled in the church with sorted and donated clothes to be sent to people fleeing the war in Syria. Here’s a look back on one of our collections that brought people together from across the Benefice.
The church is now open every day 10am – 4pm. For your safety and the safety of others, during Covid, please be sure to use the NHS QR code at the door (or sign the book), use the hand sanitiser and observe the Covid guidance signs. Thank you. The PCC have prepared a risk assessment for when the church is open. Lone workers in the church follow guidelines set out by Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. At the start of Covid we delivered leaflets to the houses in the village reminding them that the Church is there for everyone and that people should not hesitate to ask for help if needed.
For those interested in the building, a short history of the church booklet has been written.
Steve Maidment has prepared a comprehensive history of the church which you can read here. We are grateful to Steve for making this available.
Norton Village: Norton sits in the middle of the Benefice and is bisected by the main A38. It has roughly 500 residents and in recent years has seen a good number of new houses being built, with more to come. Historically it has been a farming community and farms are still evident all around. The parish extends to the banks of the River Severn. The village has an excellent village hall that hosts a variety of local groups and others from further afield, two pubs and, currently, the only school in the benefice. There is a rugby club and an outdoor sports area. Most of the groups in the village have some members of our worshipping community involved. The church has organised skittles nights, harvest suppers and other events in the village hall. There is a monthly village newsletter.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION TO SUPPORT THE LIFE AND FABRIC OF NORTON CHURCH, PLEASE CLICK HERE*
- Please note that when you receive email confirmation of your gift from Just Giving, it will indicate the donation has gone to Sandhurst PCC because of the way we’ve had to set up the account. Please be assured that Norton Church will receive the donation plus gift aid.