Walking In Coln St Dennis and Coln Rogers

by | Nov 3, 2023 | Blog

Coln St. Dennis

Coln St. Dennis derives its name from the local river and the abbey of St Dennis in Paris, which owned the manor in the Middle Ages. The parish church of St James is unusual in that its original Norman plan of nave, central tower, and sanctuary, and much of the fabric, has been preserved intact. Now dedicated to St James, the church was often referred to in earlier times as St Kenelm’s, after the local saint and son of a king of 8th century Mercia, who was celebrated principally at Winchcombe Abbey before its closure. Though there is no structural evidence, it is likely that the church was built on the site of a Saxon predecessor. It is a simple, gently austere church in a quiet, comely village. The nave is 12th century, with fine reset 12th-century grotesque head corbels and a 12th-century tub-shaped font. The central tower has three 12th-century stages and a 15th-century upper stage. In the churchyard, have a look for the chest tomb of William Vann Hadwen, surgeon of Northleach, who died in 1835, a rectangular limestone monument supported on four freestanding miniature Doric columns.


Coln Rogers

Coln Rogers is a ‘Thankful Village’. Thankful Villages (or ‘Blessed Villages’) are settlements in England and Wales that provided members of the armed forces in World War I, all of whom returned home alive – a rarity during that appalling conflict. The term ‘Thankful Village’ was popularised by the writer and historian Arthur Mee in the 1930s. In Enchanted Land (1936), the introductory volume to The King’s England series of guides,  he identified thirty-two such villages. In a recent update, researchers have identified fifty-two civil parishes in England and Wales. There are no settlements in Scotland or Northern Ireland that did not lose a member of the community in World War I. Fourteen of the English and Welsh villages are considered “doubly thankful”, in that they lost no service personnel during World War II. Coln Rogers takes its name from the knight Roger of Gloucester who donated the manor to the monks of Gloucester in the 12th Century.

The church of St Andrew dates from Saxon times and follows the simple Saxon plan of nave and chancel, the south porch and west tower having been added later. Later additions and maintenance have covered the Saxon features externally, though internally the distinctive Saxon construction of the walls has been uncovered here and there. Most distinctive, however, is the chancel arch, which, with its simple practicality, gives a strong sense of early Christianity in England.