St Mary the Virgin

GloucestershireFAIRFORDStMary(church)1

Fairford's magnificent 'wool' church, rebuilt in the 1490s' and hardly altered since then, deserves a place in any roll call of fine Cotswold churches.

About this church

The fame of the building is often eclipsed by that of its virtually complete set of late medieval glass, made between 1500 and 1517.

The 28 windows tell many stories from the Old and New Testaments, culminating in the great west window that depicts Christ in Glory. Episodes from the early history of the Christian Church and its saints are also here. The glass miraculously survived the scourge of the Reformation, only for the west windows to be badly damaged in a storm in 1703. It was removed from the church and put into safe storage during World War II. The glass has since been restored, repaired, partially renewed and cleaned through the centuries, but its survival as a set makes it unique.

There is much more to see inside the church, including a famous set of misericords, with such subjects as a woman beating her husband, and a drunkard. Outside the church, don't miss the fascinating series of carved figures just below the roof parapet.

The churchyard contains fine Cotswold tombs and monuments, some dating back to the 17th century. A favourite with visitors is more recent: a 1980 memorial with a stone sculpture of Tiddles, Fairford's much loved church cat.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • 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

WiltshireCASTLEEATONStMary(kevinfarmer)1

St Mary

This Grade I church is situated on the banks of the Thames.

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