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History

St-Mary-s-003.jpgSt Mary's has occupied this site for over 900 years, although we are uncertain of the date of consecration. Originally built as a chapel of ease to the Priory (now Cathedral), the Norman pillar and grant from the Town Council in the 12th century for the offering of Mass, testify to its early foundation. Much rebuilding of the Norman structure took place in the 14th and 15th centuries. However, it was during the Victorian period that the most extensive rebuilding, much of it devitalizing, took place. Changes made during the 20th century were carried out by the renowned architect W. D. Caroe whilst Cathedral architect. The two altars, reredos, choir stalls, organ case and parclose screen are all his work or that of his son, Alban. More recent work has included the east window of the welcoming and reigning Christ by local artist, John Petts in 1989, and the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham (in the niche above the Norman pillar) by Michael Tandy in 1997.

Architectural features include:

  • Sole surviving Norman column, north side of the nave –  complete with aumbry for patron saint
  • Floral cross in south porch – a memorial to a local knight who died during the crusades
  • Dog door in south porch
  • Five-light Perpendicular east window depicting Christ in Majesty, designed by John Petts of Abergavenny in 1989
  • South aisle Nativity window1928 reredos by W D Caroë
  • Parclose screen opposite organ and screen at west end dividing the tower from the nave
  • Buckingham Tower, built for military purposes and erected in 1521 by Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham and Marcher Lord of Brecknock
  • Remains of a small stone altar at the west end of the nave – likely to be the remainder of a medieval chantry
  • Medieval Ting Tang bell – used to call the  priest to say Mass

Gallery