History of Lea Church
In the 13 th Century, Lea meaning a clearing, was a hamlet within the Forest of Dean which was then more extensive. The Luca family were the principal landowners of this division of the Forest and were responsible to the King for the Lea Bailwick. The Church was a chapel of ease' under the jurisdiction of Linton where the sacraments were administered. In 1315, the elderly Isabella de Luca was granted her wish to end her life as a recluse within the building.
During the 15th Century flooding in the Rudhall Valley was so persistent that the parishioners were unable to get to Linton so Lea was consecrated as a Parish Church
After it became a Parish church, the building which originally had its main entrance in the south wall, was enlarged with the addition of a north aisle and other alterations and carved stonework.
The Victorian era was another time of change. Because of the re-routing of the Gloucester to Ross road, the main entrance and porch were changed to the north side. The ancient windows were restored and rebuilt walls were plastered.
The church contains a large mural of Jesus coming to John the Baptist, which was reputedly painted by Miss Maude Berry in the late 19 th century. Due to damp and damage, this had been painted over. When the church was redecorated in 2002, it was uncovered and restored by Daisy Cutts of Frome. The cost being met by the generosity of a few members of the congregation.
Although it only came to the church in 1907, the very unusual Italian font is probably older than the oldest part of the building. It is a stoup standing on a knotted shaft resting upon an elephant. It is elaborately decorated with delicate carving and cosmati work. The elephant appears to have human ears, possibly because the carver had never actually seen an elephant!
The parochial history of Lea has been very varied an unusual. The civil parish has always been in Herefordshire, but the parochial parish was in Gloucester Diocese until 1975, although at that time it was within Ross Deanery! The links with Linton have remained and history repeats as the two parishes are now in the same grouping within the Ross Team Ministry.