City Centre Tour 21. St Mary de Crypt Church

There has been a church on this site since the 12C.  It was originally known as the Church of the Blessed Mary within the Southgate, but the only remnants of this building are some arches in the crypt that gives the church its name.

The present building was erected in the late 14C by the brotherhood at Llanthony Priory.

A sundial at the eastern end of the church marks the point of impact of Royalist cannon fire during the siege of Gloucester in 1643. The building was targeted by the King’s artillery as it was being used as a gunpowder manufactory.

George Whitefield, the famous Methodist preacher went to the Crypt school next door and preached his first sermon in 1736 from the early Renaissance style pulpit which can still be found in the nave.  Famed in both England & America for his magnificent voice, his friend Benjamin Franklin calculated that he could be heard by 30,000 people at any one time.

Also buried in the church is James ‘Jemmy’ Wood, a notoriously mean Gloucester banker who was the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Jemmy was nationally known and commemorated by pottery figurines, Toby jugs and irreverent cartoons. His story also inspired Dickens’ Bleak House as much of the miser’s million pound estate was consumed in legal arguments over his will.

Across the road, you can see the New County Hotel on the site of The Ram, the last of the Three Great Inns of St Peter.

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Fun Fact

Ebeneezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ was based on England’s first self-made millionaire and Gloucester resident, Jemmy Wood (1756-1836). Jemmy was known nationally for his miserly ways and was immortalised by pottery figurines, Toby jugs and irreverent cartoons. His story also inspired Dickens’s Bleak House as much of the miser’s million pound estate was consumed in legal arguments over his will. Jemmy is buried here at St Mary de Crypt

Location

Longitude and latitude for St Mary de Crypt Church: 51.864080,-2.247127

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