St Mary

The church of St Mary dates from 1150. It is believed to have been built by the masons that were employed by the castle and whether this is true or not what is certain is that it is the place where they would have worshiped.

About this church

Within just 30 years of its creation the church was extended and 20 years after that it was extended further still. These were the days when materials and labour were plentiful and money and expense was not an issue. The expansion of 1200 saw the addition of the south and north aisles but the largest alteration occurred during the 15th century, when in 1450 the transepts and chantry chapels were created in the south aisle and a great perpendicular quire was added.

Sadly, the church suffered severe damage during the English Civil War when it was used as parliamentary base for the troops to launch attack on the castle. During this siege the north aisle of the church was destroyed along with the quire. The north aisle was later rebuilt but its exterior wall was repositioned leaving the original north transept and the great quire as ruins in what is now the churchyard.

All of the original stained glass windows were destroyed during the English Civil War and the windows that we see today are all 19th and 20th century replicas. It was also not just English Civil War that caused damage to the church as it was bombed during the Second World War. The church of St Mary has had quite a turbulent past but thankfully it has survived and is now protected as a listed building for future generations to enjoy.

The churchyard holds the grave of Anne Bronte. Anne is the only member of the Bronte family not buried at Haworth. She fell in love with Scarborough whilst working as governess for five years for the Robinson family. When she was diagnosed as suffering from the early stages of consumption it was felt that the change of air might help relieve the symptoms. At the time St Mary’s church was being rebuilt so the funeral service was held at Christ Church which was close to their lodgings. The cortege passed through the steep narrow streets before arriving at St Mary’s church. Anne is buried at the northern end of St Mary’s churchyard overlooking the sea.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

St Martin on the Hill

St Martin's church, designed by George Bodley and completed in 1863, is famous in the area and features excellent examples of preRaphaelite stained glass.

St Peter

More information about this church coming soon.

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