Siting peacefully on the edge of the River Wye near Symonds Yat East in the village of Whitchurch is St Dubricius, a 13th century church.
The church is built of sandstone rubble quarried locally, under a slate roof. Parts of an older 9th-century church appear to have been incorporated into the current building, which was heavily restored in the Victorian period.
Interior highlights include a font bowl of Norman date, cut down to fit a late 14th-century stem.
To the west of the churchyard is the Gwillam tomb enclosure, built by Thomas Gwillam in 1744. The Gwillim family owned Old Court at Whitchurch from 1600 until 1898, and the enclosure contains numerous family graves. Among those buried here is the family of Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim. At the age of 19, she married General John Graves Simcoe, who was the first Governor of Upper Canada and founded the city of Toronto in 1793.
Dubricius was a 6th-century holy man who lived in Herefordshire. Legend says that his mother was a princess of Erging (near Ross-on-Wye). When her father discovered that the unmarried princess was pregnant he had her thrown into the River Wye.
She survived the attempt to drown her and was promptly thrown into a fire to be burnt alive. She survived this too and that night she gave birth to a baby boy named Dyfrig, later known as Dubricius.
Dubricius established several early Christian monasteries which gained a reputation as centres of scholarship. His feast day is celebrated on 14th November.
What is going on in Whitchurch:
You can check out the services taking place in Whitchurch here. We also have an events diary here. And the Village newsletter, Tulip Tree News can be read here. Our information leaflet can be downloaded here.
The Friends of Saint Dubricius:
The craftsmen who were inspired to build our church, and the men and women who have modified it through generations since, have given us the best of their time in the name of the Christian faith and for the community. It is the aim of the Friends of St Dubricius to support the Parochial Church Council (which has responsibility for the day-to-day running and upkeep of the church) in preserving their work and building on this legacy by reinterpreting and remodelling where appropriate.
The Friends objectives are the preservation, restoration, improvement of the church buildings, fabric, fixtures, fittings, stained glass, ornaments and monuments, belonging to the church. The Friends are a group of worshippers and non-church goers keen to meet these objectives and see the building used for community events. You can help by joining us by downloading the attached leaflet and joining form. The current news letter can be read here.
In Autumn 2021 Saint Dubricius was awarded the Eco Church Bronze award.