infobox UK place
country = England

static_image_caption =
latitude = 51.78748
longitude = -2.19476
official_name = Painswick
population = 2070 [cite web |url= |title=Painswick |accessdate=2008-03-25 |publisher=Stroud District Council]
shire_district= Stroud district
shire_county = Gloucestershire
region = South West England
constituency_westminster = Stroud
post_town = STROUD
postcode_district = GL6
postcode_area = GL
dial_code = 01452
os_grid_reference = SO866098

Painswick is a small town in Gloucestershire, England. Originally, the town grew on the wool trade, but it is now best known for its church's yew trees and the local Rococo Garden. The town is mainly constructed of locally quarried cotswold stone. Many of the buildings feature south facing attic rooms once used as weaver's workshops.

Geographically Painswick is situated on a hill in the Stroud district, overlooking the Stroud valleys. Its narrow streets and traditional architecture make it the epitome of an English village. There is a golf course near Painswick Beacon.


There is evidence of settlement in the area as long ago as the Iron Age. This can be seen in the defensive earthworks atop nearby Painswick Beacon, which have wide views across the Severn Vale. The local monastery, Prinknash Abbey, was established as long ago as the 11th century.

During the first English civil war (1642-1645) Gloucester was a Parliamentarian stronghold of some strategic importance. Consequently it was surrounded by forces loyal to the King. After the siege of Gloucester was broken on September 5 1643, the Royalist army, which had been surrounding the city, encamped overnight at Painswick. Some damage was caused by the troops and a scar from two small cannonballs can still be seen on the tower of St. Marys parish church.

St.Mary's Church

A priest in Painswick is noted in the Doomsday Book and so it is assumed that there was also a church here at that time. Evidence suggests that it was built between 1042 and 1066 by Ernesi a rich Anglo Saxon thane who was then Lord of the Manor.

After the Norman conquest the Lordship passed to the family of de Laci, the patron saint of which was St.Peter. In 1377 the chapel at he north side of the church was rebuilt and dedicated to St.Peter, which is the oldest part of the church. Shortlty afterwards the north aisle was added.

By this time the de Laci family had given the living to the Prior and Canons of Llanthony Priory who had spiritual oversight of the parish until the Reformation.

The nave and tower were built about 1480 and by 1550 the sanctuary has taken its present form. The spire was not added until 1632. The church remained in this form until the English Civil War when it was occupied by Parliamentarians in 1644. The Royalists recaptured the town, however, after severe fighting. Bullet and cannon shot marks remain on the church tower to this day. The church was greatly damaged by fire.

In 1657 a gallery was added to the north aisle. In 1740 the south aisle was built with a gallery above. A west gallery was added in 1840. In 1877 the church was restored by public subscription. The font dates from 1661 and replaced one destroyed during the Civil War. The Royal Arms over the entrance door are those of William IV.

The imposing tomb was occupied by three different families and suffered in the fire of 1644. The First World War screen was craved by a Belgian refugee and lists al those from Painswick who served and the names of those who died in gold.

The organ was originally built in the 18th century by Sneltzer but only the casing remains. The present instrument was installed by Nicholson of Worcester.

A bell ringer’s society was formed in 1686 and the ringers are still known as the “Ancient Society of Painswick Youths”. Before 1731 there were eight bells but the ring was augmented in 1732 and in 1819 by four further bells. In 1986 to celebrate the tercentenary of the society a thirteenth bell was added and the clock face restored. In 1993 the addition of an extra treble bell, made possible by a generous donation, completed the present ring of fourteen bells.

In the churchyard Painswick has a unique collection of chest tombs and monuments from the early 17th century onwards carved in local stone by local craftsmen. The oldest tomb, with fossils on the top, is of William Loveday, Yeoman, dated 1623 [ St. Maty's Painswick, Church leaflet, obtained July 2008] .

Local traditions

On the nearest Sunday to September 19 the ceremony known as "clipping the church" takes place. Local children wear flowers in their hair, join hands and embrace St Mary's Church.

Folklore holds that the churchyard will never have more than 99 yew trees and that should a 100th grow the Devil would pull it out [cite web |url= |title=Painswick |accessdate=2007-05-03 |publisher=Stroud News and Journal] . According to the V&A a count of the trees showed there to be 103 [cite web |url= |title=The famed clipt yew trees of Painswick Churchyard. Gloucestershire. 1902 |accessdate=2007-05-03 |publisher=The Victoria and Albert Museum] . The plan of the churchyard included in the church's own public leaflet shows 100 [St. Mary's Painswick, A Stroll Around the Churchyard, Church leaflet, obtained July 2008] .

While Royalists were encamped in Painswick, tradition has it that King Charles went up to the Beacon and, seeing the beautiful valley to the east said "This must be Paradise". Since then that valley, and the hamlet on its western side to the north of Painswick has been called Paradise.


Painswick has only one school, Croft Primary School. The school is a Community School for children aged 4 to 11 and is secular and Co-educational.

Other churches and chapels

The Baptist Chapel on New Street was built in 1806 by the Wesleyan Methodists, but was sold to the Baptists in 1831. The premsiees are now used by an estate agent.

The Chapel of Our Lady and St. Teresa on Friday Street opened for Roman Catholic worship on 4 August 1934. On 15 June 1941 it was almost completely destroyed by a German bomb.

The Friends Meeting House on Vicarage Sreet, was built in 1705/6, was refurbished in 1793/4 and closed in 1894. It re-opened in 1952. The burial ground, to the north of Dell Farm, has been in use since 1658. The Ebenezer Chapel, former Primitive Methodist, in Bisley Street was built in 1854.

The United Reformed church in Gloucester Street was built as a Congregational chapel in 1803, was extensively altered in 1892 and was renamed "The Cornelius Winter Memorial Chapel". [ [ GlosGen Painswick and Neighbourhood] ]

Famous inhabitants

* Charles Wilfred Orr - English composer, who was born at nearby Cheltenham.
* Thomas Twining - tea merchant, who was born in Painswick in 1675, and who in 1706 set up his first tea shop at 216 Strand, London, which was to become the home of the famous Twinings brand [ [ Thomas Twining at] ] .


External links

* [ Painswick Parish Council] official website.
* [ Painswick Beacon] Community Newspaper
* [ The Adey family history] From approximately 1650 in Painswick to the present day.
* [ The Croft school]
* [ photos of Painswick and surrounding area on geograph]

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