History of St Mary's Church
The Parish & Priory Church of St Mary was completed in 1450 and is at least the second church on this site, its predecessor being dedicated in 1259. There have probably been churches on the same site for over 1000 years.
The Priory attached to the church was dissolved in the sixteenth century and was a cell of a Benedictine Abbey in Angers, France. Sadly there is no longer any trace of the priory which stood to the northeast of St Mary’s and which was a cell of the Benedictine Priory at Angers in France and was founded by Judhael, a knight of William I.
Of particular interest to visitors are the magnificent 15th century stone screen; the Kempe stained glass window; the Willis organ built in 1861; the restored oak wagon roof; the fine brass candelabrum in the nave; the Blackhall monument and the memorial plaque to Walter Venning (1781-1821), Russian prison reformer.
St Mary’s is a Grade I listed building of considerable historical interest. Its stone screen is the most imposing architectural feature.
In the nineteenth century the church was restored by Sir G G Scott. A recent quinquennial inspection has shown that the church is in good repair although some minor urgent repairs have been dealt with or are being dealt with.