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  Photographs by kind permission of Mike Broome  

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Our Heritage

There is a remarkable history to St Mary de Crypt and the Old Crypt Schoolroom

St Mary de Crypt

St Mary de Crypt is a Grade I listed church and regarded as one of Gloucester’s most important medieval churches. It is of Norman origin and

was substantially rebuilt in the late 1300s.

The Old Crypt Schoolroom

Right next to St Mary de Crypt is the Old Crypt Schoolroom. It was the first free school in Gloucester, built in the 1500s and remains a remarkable example of a Tudor schoolroom. Over time the Crypt School outgrew its site here, has relocated twice, and is still a successful local grammar school.

George Whitefield

George Whitefield, one of the founders of Methodism, was also baptised here and came to school here. He spoke his first sermon from the pulpit which you can still see.

Robert Raikes, one of the founders of the Sunday School Movement, was baptised in the church, came to school here and lived opposite in the house which is now the Robert Raikes pub.

Robert Raikes

It is remarkable that one single church and its small school should produce in a single generation two world Christian leaders: Robert Raikes and George Whitefield.

Discover DeCrypt is about telling the stories of some of the amazing people associated with this place so that you can discover the Christian story for yourself.

Old Crypt Schoolroom Archaeological Dig 2017

Archaeologists were on site for a week-long dig in the schoolroom! This was a great experience in itself, but also a big moment for the project, as removal of the old floor and excavation in preparation for underfloor heating to be installed is the first step in the building process. We had an overwhelming response from volunteers eager and willing to spend a week covered in dirt in a very cold building. Kevin and Nick from Avon Archaeology led the dig and took the time to educate the volunteers in archaeological ideas from stratigraphy to using surveying instruments between pushing wheelbarrows to the skip.

The many small finds included medieval coins; floor tiles; clay pipes; shells; pottery sherds (even two Roman ones) and bone fragments. Some finds are a very clear reminder of the use of the room as a schoolroom: writing slates and styli; marbles and a toy cannon. Although the dig is now officially over, Avon Archaeology will still be around, as they will also perform the watching brief for the archaeology in the church during the rest of the building works.

Robert Raikes George Whitefield St Mary de Crypt Old Crypt Schoolroom Rudhall Bells Jemmy Wood