St Mary

Described as 'odd, but delightful with stunning views of the River Trent, St Mary's curious appearance reflects an intriguing and calamitous history.

About this church

By tradition and belief, the quaint church of St Mary in its charming setting adjacent to the might river Trent, once formed a part of the monastic complex of Heynings Priory. Fragments of decorated medieval stone and reused decorative masonry discovered along the riverbank, provide signs of a high status medieval building within the area. The priory of Heynings, dedicated to the Virgin Mary is a mystery. Founded in the reign of King Stephen in the 12th century, its foundation charter is for 'brethren and sisters' and would indicate that the house belonged to the Gilbertine order. Brethren, however are never mentioned in any further documentation. The house was ruled by a lone prioress. On the 11th July 1539 the dissolution of the priory occurred with the prioress Joan Sandforde and eleven nuns surrendering. After the dissolution, St Mary's gradually fell into disrepair. The tower, choir, chance and roof slowly collapsed into ruin and decay. In 1630 a major reconstruction took place but only the nave of the existing church was saved, reordered and given a new lower twin gabled roof.

Key Features

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

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

Other nearby churches


St Helen

St Helen's dates from 12th century, with the north aisle added in 1380, between the choir and the north aisle is a mediaeval tomb to Sir Roger Trehampton, one of the Knights Templar.

St Margaret of Antioch

The small parish church of St Margaret of Antioch is located near the point where an old Roman road ran north to the fort at Torksey.

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