A brief history of St. Mary's
|A charcoal drawing of St. Mary's Church, Warwick|
The original church was probably built on a Saxon chapel site or burial place, being on top of the hill. Built at the same time as the castle by Newburgh, it featured the usual style of massive pillars, with cushion capitals supporting the main arches. All that is left of this building is the Crypt, which a thousand years on still supports the east end of the present building, which was built in the fourteen hundreds for Thomas Beauchamp, (pronounced beecham). This is typical English perpendicular, the upper levels being supported externally by buttresses. To the south of the Chancel is the chantry chapel of Richard Beauchamp, one of the treasures of England. Its delights are too many to list here - a visit is required.
During the great fire of Warwick 1694, the church nave and rood screen were destroyed, along with the bell tower and the centre of the town. It was rebuilt with the generous help of Queen Anne and others, to its present glory, the only thing to go wrong was in the building of the tower, built started to crack and so had to be knocked down and rebuilt on the outside of the building line.
The chapel of the Royal Warwickshire regiment is to be found here, along with laid up colours medals and books of remembrance, the pages of which are turned daily to remind us all of the sacrifice of others.
The church has a strong choral tradition, with a men and boys choir, and a girls choir, music groups, Warwick arts concerts, and is fast becoming the main venue for early English music in the country. We offer full choral training and scholarships to boys and girls in the local area.
The tower can be climbed during the summer to gain excellent views of the town and the castle, but beware its 160 steps, and no "elevator"!!! There are ten bells and an active bell-ringing group. The carillon plays every day at 9, 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock. Each day boasts a different tune. On Friday you can hear the "Warwickshire Lad" - click here to find out more.
We offer brass rubbing facilities, a shop, and in the summer a cup of tea or coffee can be had in the crypt for no charge, a small service for our visitors (a donation would be welcome though).
The church can be seen from all roads into Warwick, There is ample parking, if you are visiting the castle, the church is just a hundred yards from the castle. Please make time to visit our lovely building, we are open from ten to six every day, and admission is free.
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