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Churcham

A very small, peaceful and secluded village on the very edge of the Forest of Dean district, just south of the A40 Gloucester to Ross-on-Wye road, and just a few miles from Gloucester. The ancient name of the parish was Hamme, which then included the hamlets of Highnam, Linton and Over, extending into three "hundreds", namely those of Westbury, Dalstone and Kings Barton. The registers state that the parish was also known as Churchill. There are two Hammes in the Domesday Book, but the distiction of these as Churcham and Highnam does not occur until 1281. In the days of King Canute, who died in 1035, Wolphin de Rue was Governor of Gloucester and Lord of the Manors of Hamme, but having slain seven monks in the Abbey of Gloucester, he gave the Manors to the Abbey in expiation of the crime.

The main attractionof the village is the church of St Andrew, which is one of the most distinctive churches in the area, thanks to its unusual Rhenish Helm Tower. This is not original however but was erected when the church was rebuilt in 1878 after a devastating fire destroyed the towers timber spire, the church bells and the wooden roof. Apart from this re-working, the church itself is early Norman and retains original masonry, large chancel arch, doorways and a window. The church also contains two features of historical and archaeological interest, notably a small Roman-British figure-sculpture set above the north doorway which probably dates from the 3rd century AD and the south doorway arch, on which are the remains of 12th /13th century wall paintings. In the churchyard is the grave of Henry Hooke, one of the soldiers who was awarded the Victoria Cross at the heroic battle of Rooke's Drift in the 1879 Zulu Wa.

Churcham is also an ideal countryside location for visiting the Vale of Leadon, The Forest of Dean and the city of Gloucester.

Churches
The church dates from 1050 A.D., before the coming of the Normans. The nave, the chancel arch and the lower part of the tower being the original pre-Norman work. The windows are early English and Perpendicular, but the stonework of the old Norman windows is visible on the outside walls. The present spire and nave roof were built after the fire of 26 October 1875, during the incumbency of the Rev. G. C. HALL M.A. Marks of the fire are visible in the present east window of the chancel. The piscina in the south wall of the nave was discovered during some restoration in 1914. The panelling in the chancel, probably Flemish, though not ecclesiastical, is of good workmanship. The font was destroyed in the fire, but part of the stone-work remains. The small carved stone over the outside of the north door is older than the church itself, having been incorporated into the church when it was built.
Schools
Churcham County Primary School.
Address: Churcham County Primary School, Churcham, Gloucester, GL2 8BD.
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