History of Northleach Church


The origins of Northleach are thought to stretch back over 1,200 years. The Domesday Survey of 1086 mentions two mills at ‘Leece’, by which time the lands were held by the Abbey of St Peter in Gloucester.
As the wool trade began to develop in the Cotswolds, so the importance of the settlement began to grow. The town of Northleach came into existence in 1227 when Henry III granted the right of a weekly market every Wednesday, together with the right to hold a fair on the Feast of St Peter and the two days either side.


The layout of the town dates from this period, with regularly sized ‘burgage plots’ facing onto the east-west road, and a triangular market place on the other side.

There must have been a church in Northleach from the time when the Market Charter was first granted, and there may have been a church here very much earlier. The building as we know it today is the product of various stages of expansion and development, as shown in the plan below.

We owe much of the present form of the church to the wealth of the woolmen of Northleach during the 15th century, whose generosity funded the redevelopment of the nave, the addition of aisles and chapels, and the building of the porch.

The pages on this website provide a brief introduction to the development of the church over the centuries, and explain the historical background that made it possible.