St Peter and St Paul Church is known as the cathedral of the Cotswolds. It was built with money amassed by the wool merchants of the area in the 15th century.
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The oldest part of the church is the 100 foot high tower, which dates from c1350. The outline of the pointed roof on the tower is a clue that the roof level of an earlier building was different. There are eight bells.
Inside the church porch are stone fan vaulting and carved heads. Above the porch is a small room once used as living quarters for a priest and later for a school. It retains its fireplace, bread oven, cupboards, and candle brackets.
The church interior has slender pillars, arches, and clerestory windows. The church has a modern window which shows Christ risen. Little remains of the old windows except a few bits on the south side and east window of the south chapel.
The chancel is divided into two parts, the earliest from the 14th century. The carved stone pulpit is from the 15th century while the font dates from the 13th century. The altar is from the 1960s; its older stone weighs a ton. Nearby is a sedilia. A stone staircase now leads to nothing, but at one time it led to a balcony.
On the floor of the church are memorial brasses. Most are of wool merchants, thus the woolsacks and sheep on them. A window gives another clue to the wool merchant background of the church with the depiction of shears, woolsacks, and a wool merchant.
Northleach is located on the A429 near its junction with the A40.
For guided tours for groups contact by phone at 0 1451 861 172.
Sunday morning and evening services are held in the church.
Text and photos © by Barbara Ballard