St Mary’s Church, Warwick – West Face
Image by ell brown
The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick is a Church of England Parish Church. It is in the centre of town and is east of the market place.
The church dates back 900 years, to about 1123 when it was founded by Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick. The only part of the Norman church to survive is the crypt.
The church was rebuilt in the 14th century by a later Earl of Warwick, Thomas de Beauchamp (pronounced Beecham).
After the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694, the church was rebuilt and was finished in 1704, in a purely gothic style by William Wilson.
The latin inscription reads:
"… in the year 1394 it was completely rebuilt, and on the 5th of September 1694 it was reduced to ruins by an amazing fire that spared nothing in it’s path."
Tower can be seen for many miles and is of high value in association with Northgate Street, also with Church Street, The Court House and adjoining buildings. Nave, transepts and tower rebuilt by Sir William Wilson in 1697-1704 after destruction in the great fire of 1694. Design supervised and perhaps modified by Sir Christopher Wren (see Wren Society’s Transactions, Vol X). This curious and interesting building retains much of the Gothic spirit although details and mouldings are Renaissance in character. Late C14 chancel. Norman crypt. Interior contains C18 organ case by Swarbrick and various effigies. The Beauchamp Chapel (Lady Chapel to south of Chancel) is a very fine example of the Perpendicular style, built 1442-63 to contain the wellknown tomb and bronze effigy of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (died 1439). Further interesting features of the interior include, fan vaulting, richly carved stone figures etc at east end, wall painting (Last Judgement) at west end, C15 stained glass and other tombs of the Dudley family. VCH, viii, pp 524-9.