Free copies of the history of the church are available in the vestibule at the back of church - please take one!
There has been worship on the site of St Mary's for over a thousand years, with the current building dating back to 1841. Below are some of the key dates in its history.
958ad: The first recorded mention of a Christian church on this site in the time of the Saxon king Edgar; the church was probably made of wattle, wood and daub. It is likely that long before this, people worshipped at a pagan shrine here.
1100-1199: In the 12th century, a small thatched church, about the length of a cricket pitch, was built and stood as the village church for about 600 years until 1782. A picture of this church may be seen in the rector’s vestry.
1782: The old church was in a bad state and was too small, so it was demolished and an oblong brick church with a cupola was built and opened for worship on 11 august 1782.
The rev. Samuel Glasse was rector at this time. The new (Georgian) church contained a clock and two bells and cost £1,402 to build. However, within 60 years the church proved too small and had to be replaced.
1841: The present church was built to the design of Sir Gilbert Scott. It was his first church and helped to establish his reputation. Flint was used with stone and yellow brick dressings and the roof was made from slate.
In the tower was placed the great clock made by Tucker, which was probably transferred from the Georgian church. The mechanism from this clock is now on display in the south gallery, as in 1980 the timekeeping had become inaccurate enough to be replaced with a self-starting synchronous electric movement installed by Smith of Derby.
The tower was topped with a beautiful broch spire. The small clock in the west gallery is also from the Georgian church, being made by William Dutton in 1786.
1897: The chancel was added to the present church.
1912: The present organ, made by Gray & Davison, was installed when redecoration took place after a fire damaged the south east part of the nave.
1975: A peal of 8 bells was installed by the Whitechapel bell foundry, and dedicated by the bishop of London on 28 September 1975. They replaced two bells cast in the 18th century by the same foundry.
1985: The inner vestibule was created, embodying the carved porch which formerly stood at the west door.
1990-1992: The parish room was added to the north side of the church.
2005: The organ was substantially refurbished and a new set of pipes placed in the west gallery
2010: As part of a major restoration project, the east and west windows were removed and sent for repair and restoration, and the interior of the church redecorated.