Collegiate Church of St MaryWarwick
Old Square
21 Church Street
Warwick
Warwickshire CV34 4AB
 
 
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Situated in Church Street in the heart of Warwick, the Collegiate Church of St Mary with its famous Beauchamp Chapel (pronounced 'Beecham'), is definitely worth a visit. St Mary’s is less than a 5 minute walk from Warwick Castle.
 
Originally constructed in 1123, the only Norman architecture still visible is the massive round pillars and arches in the crypt.  The church is sited on what is believed to have been a Saxon burial place.
 
The Earls of Warwick adopted a Bear as their Heraldic Symbol
In the 14th century, the Earl of Warwick, Thomas Beauchamp (d. 1369) and his son, extensively rebuilt the church in the Gothic style.   A table top tomb with effigies of Thomas and his wife has pride of place in front of the altar.
 
Curiously their feet sit on recumbent bears.  The bear signified boldness and courage and in the 14th century the Earls of Warwick adopted the bear as their heraldic symbol.
 
The visitor will see the bear featured all over Warwick, even in the Warwick Coat of Arms.
 
Gothic Interior of the Church
Visitors enter the Church from under the Tower – a rather dark entry! Once through the West door, the church’s Gothic interior is revealed.  The nave and altar are straight ahead and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment’s chapel is to the left of the Nave in the north transept. 
 
The small Chapter House is dominated by the Tudor tomb of Sir Ffulke Greville (d.1628), another Earl of Warwick.  The Grevilles were a family of rich wool merchants from the Cotswolds town of Chipping Camden.  ‘Greville’s House’ still stands in the High Street, not far from the church.  
 
In the 15th century Thomas’s grandson, Richard Beauchamp, built an even more elaborate Gothic chantry chapel dedicated to ‘Our Lady’.  This is the famous Beauchamp Chapel, one of the country’s best examples of fan vaulting and high decoration.
 
Richard left funds in his will for his chapel to be built specifically to house his tomb and there it is, centrally placed. Also in this ornate chapel are the large monuments of Robert Dudley, First Earl of Leicester and favourite of Queen Elizabeth 1, and his elder brother, Ambrose Dudley. Lying alongside Robert is his second wife Lettice Knollys.  Beside them is the tomb and effigy of their 3 year old son, Robert who pre-deceased his father.
 
The main entrance to the Beauchamp Chapel is through stairs in the South transept of the church. An alternate entry is from the Chancel through a small arch on the right. This leads into an exquisite little vestry called the Dean’s Chapel. On one side it looks into the church and on the other a few steps lead down into the Beauchamp Chapel.
 
Climb St Mary's Tower
St Mary’s Tower is open to visitors throughout the year, weather permitting and offers spectacular views over the town.  It is well worth climbing, however, it is not suitable for children under the age of eight years.  Climbing the tower incurs a small fee.
 
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation- Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: 
 
Opening Hours 
St Mary’s is open for visitors daily (except Good Friday & Christmas Day)
 
Summer (April to end of September)
Monday -Saturday:  10:00 – 18:00 hours
Sunday                   12:30 – 16:30 hours
Last admissions will be 45 minutes before closing,
 
Winter (October to end of March).
Monday -Saturday:  10:00 – 16:30 hours
Sunday                   12:30 – 16:30 hours
Last Admissions will be 20 minutes before closing.
 
On arrival visitors will be greeted by one of the Receptionists who will be happy to help. A Guide is usually available to recount the wonderful history of St Mary's.
 
Disabled Access
Wheelchair access to the main Nave, Shop and Regimental Chapel only.  Audioloop system available during services.
 
Admission Costs
Free but a donation is requested, with £2.00 per adult being appropriate.
 
Facilities
There is a Brass Rubbing centre and shop within the church.
Shop opening times - Monday - Saturday 10:00 – 16:30, Sunday 12:30 – 16:00 
 
Summer (April to end of September)
Monday -Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00 hours
Sunday                  12:30 – 16:30 hours
Last admissions will be 45 minutes before closing.
 
Winter (October to end of March).
Monday -Saturday: 10:00 – 16:30 hours
Sunday                  12:30 – 16:30 hours
Last Admissions will be 20 minutes before closing.
 
Photography
Please check the official website for restrictions on commercial photography  Web:  Collegiate Church of St Mayr's Warwick - Photography
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone    +44 (0)1926 403 940
Mail    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
St Mary's website has very good 'Getting There' information:  Getting To Collegiate Church of St Mary's Warwick.
 
Google Maps - Collegiate Church of St Mary