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.