Kings, Queens and Martyrs Tour

St Mary de Lode Church

St Mary de Lode Church

Said to be the city’s oldest parish church and believed by some to be on the site of the first Christian church in Britain.

According to some sources, it is the burial place of St Lucius, a second century King of the Britons who is often credited with bringing Christianity to these shores. The word ‘Lode’ in its name comes from the old word ‘lad’ meaning ‘watercourse’ or ‘ford’, as the River Severn flowed just to the west of here

 In 1979, an archaeological dig in the nave uncovered a pre-Christian, fifth century burial chapel within the vast remains of a Roman building. This fuelled the legend that St Lucius established his first church on the site of a Roman temple.

The tower is Norman and survives from around 1190 when the nave was rebuilt in the Gothic Revivalist style in 1826. The church was briefly used as a prison to hold Royalist soldiers during the English Civil War.

The churchyard is one of only eight in the country to have an incredibly rare Glastonbury Thorn tree, which is linked to the legends of St Lucius and Joseph of Arimathea.


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