A History of Saints Philip and James Church

There has been a Christian Church in Up Hatherley from Saxon times, as shown by a deed drawn up in 1022 and witnessed by the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Worcester. In 1291 taxation records of Pope Nicholas clearly indicate the existence of a Church in Up Hatherley. The Church was destroyed by fire in 1640 and inhabitants worshipped in Shurdington for many years after.

oldchurch
The original building

It was not until 1885 that, through the kindness of Mrs Gretton who met the entire cost of its building, the existing Church’s foundation stone was laid. Her husband, the Revd. W. H. Gretton had given the parcel of land on which the structure now stands. Mrs Gretton lived at ‘Coney Green,’ a house that was pulled down at the start of the building of Coombe Glen Estate. She originally intended to have a private chapel built adjacent to her house because failing health had made it difficult for her to get to Badgeworth Church. However, the residents of Up Hatherley asked if they could attend the services. There were so many requests that she said she ought to build a little Church away from the house. She persuaded a young curate of St. Luke’s, the Revd. E. L. Jennings, to come as her chaplain, and he was given Hatherley Manor to live in. On Easter Tuesday 1886, the Lord Bishop of Gloucester consecrated the Church.

graveyard
The graveyard view

The original Church building is of thirteenth century Gothic style, and is built of local stone. It seated approximately 150 people. It was designed by Messrs. J.H.Middleton, H.A.Prothero and G.H.Philpot of Westminster and Cheltenham. The original organ was also designed and built by a Cheltenham man, Mr. A. J. Price, and was erected in 1900.

100 years later, a new organ was acquired from Chester Cathedral to replace the original instrument, which was dismantled at the time of the Church’s new extension in 1985.

On September 21st, 1985, this extension was consecrated by John, the then Lord Bishop of Gloucester. The extension project was conceived and carried through in response to the growing local population. The entire south nave wall of the Church was removed, a large bay added, and the seating in the main church was re-orientated to a north-south axis.

The modern interior
The modern interior

The main church now accommodates about 180 worshippers. In addition, a Church Centre was included in the project to provide a large hall and other facilities for the Church and local community. The original high altar is still used for weekday services.

A soundproof screen, with stairs to an upper room, was created as part of the first phase of a reordering scheme. A leading ecclesiastical architect, Mr. Ron Sims from York, was responsible for the reordering. Sadly, however, only a few months after completion of the screen, Mr. Sims died. Plans for the completion of the re-ordering will be reviewed in due course.

Parish Priests

    • E.L.Jennings 1885 – 1890
    • William Henry Cotes 1890 – 1915
    • Richard Williams 1915 – 1925
    • Charles William Peach 1925 – 1944
    • W.H.Walsham How 1945 – 1947
    • Howard Porter 1947 – 1959
    • Cecil William Smith 1959 – 1980
    • John Heidt 1980 – 1996
    • K. Martin Wray 1997 – 2004
    • Roger Raven 2005 – 2009
    • Richard Dunstan-Meadows 2010 –