Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick
Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

Tower and nave of the church as viewed from Warwick Castle

Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship High Church
Website website
Dedication The Blessed Virgin Mary
Parish Warwick, St Mary
Deanery Warwick & Leamington
Archdeaconry Warwick
Diocese Coventry
Province Canterbury
Vicar(s) The Revd Dr Vaughan Roberts
Organist/Director of music Thomas Corns
Organist(s) Mark Swinton (Assistant Director of Music)

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).



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.[1]

Deans of the College

  • Robert Plesset, 1282
  • Thomas de Sodynton, 1290
  • William de Apperley, 1297
  • Robert Tankard, 1306
  • Richard de Alcester, 1313
  • Robert de Geryn, 1314
  • Robert de Lee, 1321
  • Thomas Lench, 1338
  • Robert de Endredeby, 1340
  • Nicholas Southam, 1361
  • Thomas Yonge, 1395
  • John Porter, 1432
  • Robert Cherbury, 1443
  • William Berkswell, 1454
  • John Southwell, 1469
  • Edmund Albone, M.D., 1481
  • Richard Brackenburgh, 1485
  • William Stokedale, 1498
  • Edward Haseley, 1498
  • Ralph Colingwode, 1507
  • John Allestre, 1510
  • John Carvanell, 1515
  • John Knightley, 1542

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.



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

Organists (prior to 1976)

  • William Witteney 1409
  • John Soursby 1432
  • John Skyrrowe 1562
  • Richard Charpe 1565
  • Thomas Dean 1719
  • William Dean 1744
  • Jonathan Hobbs 1773
  • Mary Hobbs 1787
  • Mrs R. Hobbs 1801
  • James Marshall 1802
  • Edward Dearle 1833
  • William Clayton 1844
  • W. Wyver 1861
  • James Shaw 1864
  • D. Middleton 1864
  • Bernard Farebrother 1867
  • Edwin Aspa 1871
  • A.J. Sutton 1874
  • Hanson de la Haye Blackith 1882
  • William Bellamy 1886
  • William McDuff 1894
  • Allen Blackall 1898
  • Peter Burton 1946
  • Thomas Tunnard 1950
  • Douglas Clarke 1958
  • Geoffrey Holroyde 1962
  • Andrew Fletcher 1973

(The position of Organist was replaced with that of Director of Music from 1976)

Directors of Music

  • Andrew Fletcher 1976 (originally appointed as Organist in 1973)
  • Paul Trepte 1981
  • Simon Lole 1985
  • Mark Shepherd 1994
  • Chris Betts 1998

Assistant Organists

  • Arthur Wills 1946-48
  • Edward Higginbottom 1965-67
  • Colin Roy 1967-1969
  • Andrew Fletcher 1971-73
  • Arthur Hilyer 1974
  • Tim Peters
  • Charles Matthews 1987-89

(The position of Assistant Organist was replaced with that of Organist from 1989)

Organists (from 1989)

(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


  1. ^ 'Warter - Warwick-Bridge', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 475-482. URL: Date accessed: 28 May 2011.
  • 'Colleges: St Mary, Warwick', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2 (1908), pp. 124–129.

External links

Coordinates: 52°16′56″N 1°35′17″W / 52.28222°N 1.58806°W / 52.28222; -1.58806

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