St. Mary’s at 900

The return of the social tea, ‘In The Ballroom’, on 8th March after a short break attracted a full house of guests, despite sleety weather outside. And they heard a terrific talk by historian Tim Clark about the various events this year that will mark the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Collegiate Church of St. Mary.

He presented a preview of some of the rich history of St. Mary’s to be featured in his book, ‘Faire and Goodly Built’. The book will be launched at the end of April.

The illustrated talk included the 14th century rebuilding of St. Mary’s by Thomas Beauchamp, the 11th Earl of Warwick. The ‘flying ribs’ in the chancel are unique. 

In the 15th century the lavishly decorated Beauchamp Chapel was built under the terms of Richard Beauchamp’s will. It boasts some of the finest late-medieval glass and carving in England. It was almost completely untouched during the Reformation, but Parliamentary soldiers smashed some of the stained glass windows during the Civil War.  

The chancel and Beauchamp chapel survived the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694, but the rest of the church was destroyed, to be rebuilt with a taller tower to show that Warwick had risen from the ashes.

After the talk there was the usual tea, coffee and cake served by Unlocking Warwick volunteers, and Helen Fellows’ quiz had pictures of historic buildings in Warwick for guests to identify.

‘In the Ballroom’ takes place at 2pm on the second Wednesday of each month. And because it is usually sold out, we are introducing a new afternoon tea with ‘Ballroom Board Games’ and plenty of time to chat, on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Reserve your place at the Visitor Centre: 01926 492212

In case you were wondering, Faire and goodly built is a quotation from the will of Earl Richard Beauchamp, giving directions for the construction of the iconic Beauchamp chapel.