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St Mary's Church


A Chapel was built as long ago as 1081 on the site now occupied by the parish church of St. Mary. That chapel served as the burial place of its founder, John of Ireland, whose remains seem to have been transferred to the later building. The tower is the oldest part of the church that now stands on the site and dates from the 14th century. The body of the church is plain and without transepts. The walls of the nave date from 1758 but the interior is a 1980 recreation after a devastating arson attack in 1977 destroyed everything but the nave walls and the ancient tower.


Many of the present furnishings are gifts from redundant or demolished churches. The 16th century pulpit was donated, ironically, by another holy place that would suffer its own spectacular fire,York Minster.


The 1814 peal of six bells was lost in the fire and has been replaced by a peal of eight. The full peal is not often rung, however, due apparently to a shortage of bellringers.


1081 Wattle-and-daub chapel erected by John of Ireland.

1308 New aisle built and windows restored by Adam Ireland.

1380 Chantry chapel built on the church by John Leyot.

1758 Nave rebuilt in current form.

1814 New peal of six bells replaces previous ring of five.

1977 Fire destroys old nave.

1980 Completion of fire restoration. Reconsecration.


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