The Parish Church of Holy Trinity Rangeworthy - A Brief History

Stacks Image 6
Rangeworthy, or as it was originally known, Rangery was in the Manor of Thornbury and at the time of the compiling of the Doomsday book was held by the king. In the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 – 1066) Brictric, son of Algar held the Manor. Maud, wife of William the Conqueror held it in his reign. William II gave it to Robert Fitz Hamon, whose daughter Mabel married Robert, Earl of Gloucester, son of Henry I. In the early sixteenth century the Manor was held by the Plantagenets.
The Parish Church, though small is attractive and much remains as the Norman builders left it, especially the south porch and chancel arch, as well as the north doorway to the clergy vestry. There are 2 rows of chevrons over the chancel arch and entrance to the south porch and a scratch dial on the left pillar in the porch. This pre-reformation time-piece was used by the priest to indicate the time of the Mass.
On the east wall of the north aisle is a hideous grotesque of a man with bulging eyes and protruding teeth with another at the west end.
The oak benches in the porch are hundreds of years old. Two gracefully carved faces about the size of a man’s hand are at the ends of the dripstone of the old priest’s door to the chancel.
The interior has been much changed over the years, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries. A description of the church once stated:
a very small chapel, consisting of a chancel and nave, with a gallery at the west end and a low tower, therein one bell

In 1847 the church was enlarged, adding the north aisle. At this time the parish of Rangeworthy was formed. In a return to an Ecclesiastical Commission in 1887 by the Reverend R G Ellwood, he stated:

“A Chapel of ease belonging to the parish of Thornbury but was made a separate parish and Benefice about 40 years ago by the Vicar of Thornbury”

The stained glass in the church is all modern. The East window is a memorial to the men of the parish who gave their lives in the First World War. The window on the South side of the sanctuary is in memory of a former Incumbent, the Reverend Ponsonby Sullivan (1909 – 1934). The Bethlehem window, on the south side of the nave was given by Joseph Hull, one time churchwarden, in memory of his son, 2nd/Lt John Lawrence Hull of the Worcestershire Regiment, who was 20 years old when he was killed in action at Gueude-Court, France, on 18 October 1916 in the First World War. The west window was given by the parishioners of Rangeworthy in 1928 “in love for their ancient church”; and the window on the north side is a memorial to Muriel Helen Sullivan who died in March 1950. The concealed electric lighting dates from 1981 and replaced the pendant lights which were installed in 1952 when electricity first came to Rangeworthy. The chancel floor was re-tiled in 1890 and the church was re-roofed in 1968/69. In 1983 dry rot was discovered in the nave pews and a scheme was approved to replace with chairs.

Known Vicars of Rangeworthy

1324     Richard of Overton
1545     S. Antony
1709     Samuel Hall
1711    Giles Ridley
1741    Francis Gold
1781    Henry Willis
1794     William Llewellyn
1820    John Jefferies Coles
1825    George Luke Dai-ville
1834    James Champion Hicks
1855    Edward Gorton Penny
1873     R. G. Ellwood
1887    F.W. Vernon
1905    E. L. Jenner
1909    Ponsonby M. Sullivan
1935    William Henwood
1948    J. E. Williams
1959    Robert Tindale
1967    John H. W. Fisher (Hon Canon of Gloucester Cathedral)

The Parish was united with Wickwar to form a joint Benefice in 1976.

Rectors of the Benefice

1976    Eric Akers Perry (Hon Canon of Gloucester Cathedral)
1992     David Binney Small
1998     David John Russell

The Parish of Hillesley joined the Benefice in 2002.