St Mary's Church becomes Cheltenham Minster
AN historic church became Cheltenham Minster at a special service yesterday.
St Mary's Church, believed to be the oldest building in the town, officially became a minster during a 3pm service.
The Bishop of Gloucester Michael Perham led the service and officially declared the new status of the town centre church, which dates back to the 13th century.
St Mary's was filled to the rafters as people from across the borough, including MP Martin Horwood, attended the service.
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Church rector Dr Tudor Griffiths said: "One of the focuses of the church becoming a minster is on raising the profile of the heritage of the church.
"We are working with the tourist office to develop the tourism side of the church.
"It's all very exciting, and we are really looking forward to reaching more people through the church."
Around 7,000 people visit the church each year.
It is hoped that the minster status will double the number of tourists.