St Mary's Church, Castle Street, ReadingEdit profile
St Mary's Church, Castle Street is an episcopalian church in the town centre of Reading in the English county of Berkshire. It should not be mistaken for the rather similarly named but much older Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is only a few yards away. It is called 'St Mary's' because it is the chapel in the parish of St Mary, hence St Mary's Chapel.
In 1798, there was a disagreement between the Bishop and the congregation of St Giles' Church in nearby Southampton Street. Many of the congregation left and founded a new chapel in Castle Street, on the site of Reading's old gaol. This chapel eventually became the Church of St Mary, Castle Street.
The church is a Grade II* listed building. The original 1798 building was a simple Georgian building, but in 1840 the present hexastyle portico in Corinthian style was added by local architect and builder Henry Briant. The frontage is rendered in stucco while the capitals of the portico are probably formed of Coade stone.
The church has one of Reading's best church interiors, with a late 18th century gallery in 5 bays with marbled Doric ground floor and Ionic gallery columns. There is a modillion cornice to the coved central ceiling and a small projecting chancel with a bay for the mid 19th century organ. The instrument, by Vowles of Bristol, is dated 1870, and was moved to St Mary's from Bristol in 1987. The church used to be lit by two mid 19th century cast iron chandeliers.