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"Collegiate Church of St Mary" Collegiate Church of St Mary Tip by leffe3

Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick: 14 reviews and 23 photos

The church sits proudly on a hill just to the east of the market place, and, coming into the town from Birmingham on the train, the church tower can be seen sometime before the train pulls into the station. It's bigger than many English cathedrals.

The church was founded by the 2nd Earl of Warwick in 1123, but the crypt is the only surviving structure from this period. St Mary's was rebuilt in the 14th century, but was devastated by the 1694 fire that destroyed so much of Warwick, with the tower and nave being completely destroyed. But it took just 10 years to rebuild, and the current structure opened in 1704. Unusually for its time, the design of the building (with the exception of the balustrades) is pure Gothic.

It's a stunning church, with the highlight being the medieval Beauchamp Chapel (pronounced Beecham), housing the tombs of previous Earls of Warwick and which survived the fire. It is described as one of the masterpieces of medieval church art. (See separate tip). You can also ascend the tower (no lift and 300 steps), wander through the graveyard as well as admire the stained glass windows of the main nave.

Address: Church St
Directions: It's just a few minutes walk from High St - Church St is directly opposite the Tourist Information office.

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  • Written May 24, 2009
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