“ The best things come in small packages. Such could be said of Shepperdine. With very few Tin Tabernacles still active or in such good condition, the Church is a rare and vivid insight into a revolutionary era of British history and early flat pack architecture, and further proof of quirky Victorian aesthetics. ”

Rev. Jan Van der Lely / Sandra Grey

Architectural History

St Mary’s is a tiny missionary church, dating from c.1914, and a rare example of a Tin Tabernacle. Tin Tabernacles are early examples of prefabricated design and are not actually tin, but corrugated galvanized iron. They were developed in the 19th century to serve fast growing urban areas and the upsurge in Non-Conformism, as well as to be used in the colonies. Quickly assembled places of worship, these structures were designed to stand in temporarily before more permanent stone or brick structures could be built. It is a temporality implicit in the comparatively flimsy fabric of corrugated iron, which does not stand up to the test of time well. The combination of these two factors means there are very few Tin Tabernacles around today, making St Mary’s completeness all the more special.

Architectural Features

St Mary's is a single small unit, structured in wood and faced in corrugated iron. The tiled roof has small finials and the tiny church bell is still in working order. The Tabernacle is unusual for having retained so much of its original detailing and the only noticeable updates are the windows. St Mary’s has a washed black iron exterior with mint green detailing. Inside is timber-clad top to bottom, with a singe row of Pews separated from the altar by a carved wooden Rail. Alongside one window is an original wrought iron Lamp, and in the opposite corner a wooden Bible Rest is attached to the wall.

Filming Attributes

The Church is tiny and has limited internal amenities, but plenty of external space with access to the 5 acre field in which the Church is situated. There is also a limited amount of off road parking next to the field. The Church is located just 150 m from the River Severn and surrounded by fields. The Church is happy to accommodate animals and can cater for heavy machinery. There is good phone reception on site and in the surrounding area. Staff are willing and helpful, and the church has a good light source.


Special Considerations

  • Animals Allowed
  • Hotworks
  • Night Shoots
  • Remote Area
  • Weekend Shoots


The Church is situated in the corner of a 5 acre field, 150 m away from the River Severn in the rural Hamlet of Shepperdine. The field is available for use without being subject to separate negotiation. Accessing the Church is relatively easy via good surfaced, but narrow lanes through the south Gloucestershire countryside. Links to the M4, M5 and M48 motorways and the A38 duel carriageway are all within close distance, the M5 being the closest, only 6 miles away. Bristol airport is under an hour away and rail networks at Stroud and Gloucester within 40 mins drive.

Crew and Relevant Links


Email: janvanderlely@gmail.com

Phone: 01454 501916

Website: www.achurchnearyou.com/shepperdine-chapel/