touching place

ST MICHAEL, DUNTISBORNE ROUS, GLOS

As you drive down the little by-road through Duntisbourne Rous, blink at the wrong moment, and you will miss this exquisite little church. End-on to the road, it lies down a slope leading to the stream that gave the village its name, the Dunt.

It has never been a prosperous community, so the small Romanesque building has hardly been altered since it was built. The one major addition is the small west saddleback tower, which bears an inscription dating the belfry stage (at least) at 1587, recording its building by `John Haden Mason John Freeman and John Hoskins being wardens'. The windows are largely 12th c., with a few later insertions.  There are the usual tell -tale signs of 11th c. buildings, herringbone masonry, together with long-and-short work, but the building may be even older than it looks, as reused Roman material (from the Roman town at Cirencester?) has been identified in the stone quoins.

Enter through the S doorway and you pass into an unspoilt interior, full of character, whose low-key furnishings are just right for their setting, notably 18th c. panelled box pews and a Jacobean pulpit flanking the Norman chancel arch. The site falls away to the east, and under the chancel is a Romanesque crypt.

Duntisborne Rous has the sort of church furnishings that you have seen in many other places, but here it makes a memorable ensemble. This is the very best sort of small village church, one that you feel is a personal discovery.

Map reference 50 985060

Simon Cotton

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