St Leonardís church dates from c1170 and is thought to be built on the remains of a Saxon chapel. The stone church became a possession of Winchcome abbey in 1175.
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St Leonard Abbot was a Frankish nobleman (485-560) who followed a religious life and joined a monastic group in Orleans. He established a monastery near Limoges but eventually lived as a hermit. As a patron saint of prisoners, his monastery became a place of pilgrimage for freed captives. 100 churches were named after him as is St Leonardís town in Sussex.
The 12th century part of the church is found in the main structure of the nave, the pillars, the font and the bellcote on the east gable of the naveís exterior. 50 years later the south aisle and arches were added.
The chancel was enlarged in the 13th century in the Early English style. A triple east window was installed as was a north lancet window. A piscina and porch were built. The 14th century saw two light south windows added to the chancel and aisle and a three light window on the west.
The tower was built in the 15th century when three more arches were added to the nave. In 1470 the roof of the nave was raised. Painted glass clerestory windows were added on both the north and south once the roof was raised. 1490 saw the additions of a chantry on the south corner of the chancel as well as new south and north doors. Some further restoration took place in 1881.
The stained glass in the church is thought to be from Malvern. There are 12th century mural paintings on the west wall of the nave. The church has a ring of six bells. The pulpit and vestry screen date from 1904.
Bledington St Leonardís is in the Stow deanery in the diocese of Gloucester.
Check notices on the church door for entry information.
Bledington is located on the B4450 south of the A436 and east of the A429.
Information courtesy St Leonard's Church
Photos © by Barbara Ballard except church wall painting by Philip Halling courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland