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Eastleach Martin
St. Michael & St. Martin's Church

One of the churches of the twin villages of Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville: only 200 yards and the tiny River Leach at the bottom of the churchyard separate the two. Early Norman in origin, it was founded by Richard FitzPons in a delightful setting on a western sloping hillside. It was given to Great Malvern Priory in 1120, later passing to Gloucester Abbey (Cathedral). The present church is mostly 13th century and, in the 1530s, it became renowned for its rector who was expelled for being married!

The lectern of St. Martin's is made from Elizabethan table legs and bedposts! There is a Perpendicular font and some beautiful decorated Gothic windows terminating in tiny carved heads, but the interior is relatively plain.

The main interest of Eastleach St. Martin lies in the fact that its rector, in the early 19th century, was John Keble, a leader of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England, in whose memory, Keble College, Oxford was founded. He was a popular figure in the twin villages, founding a Sunday School and often dining with the locals. The picturesque clapper-bridge between the two is named after him.

The Church is owned and opened to the public by the Churches Conservation Trust. Admission free, but donations welcome.

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