Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

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Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

The Collegiate Church of St Mary is a Church of England parish church in the town of Warwick, England. It lies in the centre of the town just east of the market place. It is a member of the Greater Churches Group.

The church has the status of collegiate church as it had a college of secular canons. In governance and religious observance it was similar to a cathedral (although not the seat of a bishop and without diocesan responsibilities). There is a Bishop of Warwick, but this is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Coventry).

History
Foundation and history to the Reformation

The church foundations date back nearly nine hundred years, being created by Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick in 1123. In addition to founding the church, de Beaumont established the College of Dean and Canons at the church. The only surviving part of the Norman church which de Beaumont had built is the crypt.

The chancel vestries and chapter house of the church were extensively rebuilt in the 14th century by a later Earl of Warwick, Thomas de Beauchamp (later pronounced Beecham) in the Perpendicular Gothic style. His descendants built what is officially called the Chapel of Our Lady, but commonly known as the Beauchamp Chapel. It contains the effigial monuments of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. Buried in the chancel of the church is William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, brother of Queen consort Catherine Parr.

Post-Reformation to the present day

The college was dissolved in 1544, and granted by the crown to the burgesses of Warwick.

The church, along with much of Warwick, was devastated by the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694. The nave and tower of the building were completely destroyed. The rebuilt church was completed in 1704 to an unusually pure Gothic design by William Wilson (appointed by the Crown Commissioners), the only compromise with classical styles being the balustrades along the top of the building.

Music
Organs

There are two organs in St. Mary's, the transept organ and the west end organ.

  • The specification of the transept organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register
  • The specification of the west end organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register
Organists (prior to 1976)
Directors of Music
Assistant Organists
Organists (from 1989)
  • Kevin Bowyer 1989
  • Christopher Monks 1998

(from 1999 the position of Organist was combined with the new post of Assistant Director of Music)

Organists and Assistant Directors of Music
  • Christopher Monks 1999 (originally appointed as Organist in 1998)
  • Luke Bond 2002 (from 2008 he has been Assistant Director of Music, Truro Cathedral)
  • Ruaraidh Sutherland 2006 (from 2011 he has been Director of Music, Christ's Church, Rye, NY)
  • Mark Swinton 2011
Image gallery
  • From Northgate Street

  • Beauchamp Chapel

  • Beauchamp Chapel west wall

  • Dean's Chapel

  • Interior looking east

  • Interior looking west

  • The view from within the Beauchamp Chapel

  • The entrance to the Beauchamp family chapel in St Mary's

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated 2 digital references and added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com