St Mary the Virgin

The churchyard site was an ancient burial ground going back to Anglo Saxon times, a buried Celtic cross, dating back to approximately 750AD, now sits proudly in the entrance porch.

About this church

By 1080 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s Abbey, at Cormeilles, in Normandy, had arrived, establishing the first Norman church on site, part of the building we see today, and Newent was recorded in the Domesday Book.

The church was enlarged in 1260 and 1361 with a tower and steeple being added soon after. 300 years later a severe storm blew the spire over and it crashed to the ground.

Because of continued weather erosion the spire has had to be rebuilt several times since. In 1674 a heavy fall of snow resulted in the church roof also collapsing. Newent carpenter Edward Taylor, an understudy of Sir Christopher Wren, rebuilt it without the original centre pillars allowing Canon Wood to add the large wooden ceiling that you see today. The craftsmanship shouldn’t be underestimated as it still holds the record for being the largest unsupported wooden ceiling in the country!

The church also lays claim to having a church organ which is truly unique. Built by local craftsman Thomas Warne in 1737 it was credited as being ‘sweet and compleat, and thought to be as good as any of that kind’. Quite an achievement considering he had no training, instruction or direction and it was the first one he’d ever built.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

HerefordshireLINTONStMary(church)1

St Mary the Virgin

St Mary’s church sits high in the centre of Linton amidst glorious Herefordshire countryside and has a fascinating history.

HerefordshireUPTONBISHOPStJohnBaptist(church)1

St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist is a beautiful church in the Herefordshire village of Upton Bishop, it provides a quiet space for contemplation and has regular services and events.

Become a Friend of the National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings!