St Mary, Norton, GL2 9LS

NORTON FRIENDS are the local team that help deliver Benefice priorities in Norton, are involved in prayer, worship and fellowship at Norton Church, as well as organising events to connect and build friendships with the wider community, undertake fundraising for Norton church activities and concerns (as well as benefice-wide projects) and carry out care and maintenance of our beautiful building.

Norton Friends is represented on the Joint Council of Seventowers. Churchwarden: Simon Trapnell 01452 731422 Parish Representative: Jean Smith 01452 730265 

Currently we are raising funds for the restoration of our peal of eight bells through our Ring Out The Bells Project.  Work starts in April 2024. In March there was a final ringing of the bells, before work began. Click here to listen

Known locally as the ‘disappearing church’ (we prefer to call it the ‘appearing 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, and the churchyard has been used for Benefice outdoor services, particularly at harvest time.

Norton village is dissected by the A38. The church lies in one half – Prior’s Norton, whilst the rest of the village is called Bishop’s Norton. However, we are all part of the same village, known generally as Norton.

People from our worshipping community taking part in benefice initiatives and the spiritual life across the benefice.

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 (last held in 2023) 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 open every day 10am – 4pm.

Currently we are raising funds for the restoration of our peal of eight bells through our Ring Out The Bells Project. If you would like to make a contribution towards this project, PLEASE CLICK HERE*.  Thank you!

  • 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.

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.