Our Church History

st mary`sThe Church of St Mary dates from 1150. It is believed to have been built by the masons that were employed by the castle and whether this is true or not what is certain is that it is the place where they would have worshiped. Within just 30 years of its creation the church was extended and 20 years after that it was extended further still. These were the days when materials and labour were plentiful and money and expense was not an issue. The expansion of 1200 saw the addition of the south and north aisles but the largest alteration occurred during the 15th century, when in 1450 the transepts and chantry chapels were created in the south aisle and a great perpendicular quire was added.

Sadly, the church suffered severe damage during the English Civil War when it was used as parliamentary base for the troops to launch attack on the castle. During this siege the north aisle of the church was destroyed along with the quire. The north aisle was later rebuilt but its exterior wall was repositioned leaving the original north transept and the great quire as ruins in what is now the churchyard.

The history of the church is told on placards inside the church and there are various artist impressions depicting how the church would have looked through the ages. All of the original stained glass windows were destroyed during the English Civil War and the windows that we see today are all 19th and 20th century replicas. It was also not just English Civil War that caused damage to the church as it was bombed during the Second World War. The Church of St Mary has had quite a turbulent past but thankfully it has survived and is now protected as a listed building for future generations to enjoy.