The small town of Painswick in Gloucestershire has been settled since the Iron Age. It sits atop a hill overlooking the Stroud valleys. The town features narrow streets and medieval architecture typical of the Cotswolds.
Painswick is best known for its 15th century church, St. Mary’s. The spire was added in the 17th century and in 1792, 99 yew trees were planted in the churchyard. Yew trees are commonly planted in church yards in the UK (and church yards are frequently built surrounding yew groves) due to the fact that yew trees can live for centuries or possibly longer. The seeming immortality of the yew tree makes it a symbol of immortality in Christianity. All 99 yew trees planted in St. Mary’s church yard in the 18th century are still alive today. The church has an organ and thirteen bells. Architectural historian Clifton-Taylor describes St. Mary’s yard as “the grandest churchyard in England” for its yew grove and its well crafted tombs and monuments.
There are a number of bed and breakfast estates in Painswick where you can stay. Any churchyard enthusiast would be remiss not to include a day at Painswick on his or her to-do list while visiting the scenic Cotswolds!
Nearby you can visit Painswick Rococo Garden.