The oldest communion vessel in the church possession is an Elizabethan chalice of silver gilt bearing the hallmark of 1571; the makers mark is illegible. The vessel is convention in shape and the bowl is ornamented with interlaced wrap work enclosing woodbine foliage.
A large silver tankard flagon bears the makers mark IS which probably stands for John Sutton. An inscription on the bottom reads:
“Bitton 1694 John Newton Barront, Lady Hart, Richard Jones, Esq. Equal contributors to this plate.”
The Seymour Cloth
The Seymour cloth. This 300 year old altar cloth of blue material has a border worked in letters of silver with the words:
“The gift of Colonel John Seymour to the Church of bitten in the county of Gloucester for the communion table in remembrance of his dear Grand father Sir John Seymour who dyed and was interred in the middle of this Holy Square Nov 17, 1663.”
The centre of the cloth represents the sun in splendour in closing across IHS and a heart with nails. In the corners is a Seymour emblem of a bird.
The house known as the Grange, south of the church, was the former rectory or prebendal Manor house. It came into the possession of a son of Thomas Seymour (Duke of Somerset and brother of Queen Jane, third wife of Henry VIII and mother of Edward the VI) at the time of the Reformation Colonel John Seymour, the donator of the cloth, was later appointed as the Royal Governor of Maryland. He is buried in Annapolis.
The church also possesses a copy of a Vinegar Bible, so named from an error in one of the running subtitles in Saint Luke’s Gospel, where the Parable of the Vineyard appears as the Parable of the Vinegar. The Bible, printed in Oxford by John Baskett in 1717 contains several other misprints which earned it the name of “a basket-full of errors”.
The Grey Lady
The church is reputed to be haunted by a Grey Lady who appears near the choir vestry and disappears towards the Grange. She was reported as having been seen in the Grange during the Second World War and by the grandmother of a churchwarden in the 1900s. There have been no recent sightings.