Pembridge, St Mary the Virgin

The Church

The medieval, Grade I listed church of St Mary the Virgin is perched on a gentle rise above the charming “black and white” village of Pembridge in Herefordshire.

The church and its associated bell tower form important features in the Pembridge Conservation Area.

The church is rich in furnishings and fittings, including two fine C15th chest tombs with pairs of effigies, thought to be members of the Gour family, and a good collection of C17th and C18th monuments.

Other furnishings of note include a large C13th font and several interesting examples of Jacobean woodwork, notably the pulpit.

The church houses the Pembridge Tapestries, which tell the history of the village in 12 panels, from the Norman conquest through to the present day.

Our Work


For many years, St Mary’s has sheltered a maternity colony of Natterer’s bats. These bats have been found roosting in the apex of the roofs of the south transept, south aisle and nave. Significant accumulations of droppings and urine spotting occurs below roof trusses at the east end of the nave, in the south transept and at the west end of the south aisle, with lighter scatterings at the west end of the nave.

Common and soprano pipistrelles, and brown long-eared bats, have also been recorded roosting in the church.

Surveys carried out for the Bats in Churches Project in 2019 by  registered ecologists revealed a reduction in the numbers of Natterer’s bats compared to previous years, although the cleaning burden throughout the breeding season remained substantial.

Further surveying of the bat population took place over the summer of 2020 and mitigation work took place in March 2021. Working under the Bats in Churches Class Licence, the ecologists closed off roosting areas in the west end of the church and created alternative roosts in another part of the church. A favourite roosting area was enclosed by boarding, allowing bats to enter the roost, but preventing droppings from falling into the church.

Initial monitoring of the bat population and the droppings they produce indicate that these measures have been successful in these areas, although bats are still present in other parts of the church, and still roost in the south transept.

The ecologist and the church hosted a bat night in August 2019 for local people to learn about the church’s bats and the work being undertaken by the project.

The Bats in Churches team visited Pembridge CE Primary School in February 2020 to deliver a specially designed Bats in Churches workshop to the Y4, 5 and 6 children, which was enthusiastically received.

The church held several bat and wildlife events in 2023, in conjunction with local wildlife groups and the Herefordshire Mammal Group. These were so successful that the PCC decided to launch its Cherish Your Churchyard initiative which aims  'to explore, celebrate and enhance the diversity of wildlife in the churchyard whilst ensuring a place for peaceful reflection and remembrance of deceased loved ones and maintaining a space for community events and quiet recreation.'  The Bats in Churches project supported this initiative with funding for wildflower seeds and kitchen equipment to help with community events.

Pembridge Case Study Poster

Pembridge Final Bat Report

Pembridge Fact Sheet

Upcoming events

If you’d like to contact or find out more about the church, visit the website or their page on A Church Near You