"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Warwick - Part 3: St Mary's and Shakespeare First Folio

After leaving Lord Leycester's Hospital we had a wander round the town.

We couldn't find an independent cake shop so ended up buying some sweets to take home from one of those delightful "olde worlde" sweet shops.


The Collegiate Church of St Mary



As we walked past the church we noticed it was the last day of the Shakespeare 400 Exhibition and to my amazement D agreed he would like to take a look. Normally when I visit a church mentioned in the Jenkins' 1000 best churches book I do a bit of homework beforehand so I know the important features to look for but as I didn't think we would visit I hadn't bothered. To make matters worse we only had 30 minutes before the church closed :( (I really should have remembered the church contained the superb Beauchamp Chapel as I managed to leave this part until the last few minutes).

The church was founded in 1123. The chancel is 14th century and the nave and 174 foot tower were rebuilt in 1704 after they were destroyed in the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694.

Fragments of Medieval Stained Glass

To mark the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare's death the church has been holding an exhibition which contains one of only 274 copies of the First Folio of his plays and a First Edition of the King James Bible (commissioned by James I in 1604 and published in 1611). Unfortunately I couldn't get a photo of the bible as there was always someone studying it.



Tomb of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and his Countess, Katherine daughter of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. The figures are made of alabaster. The small figures round the side of the tomb are known as "weepers".




The Norman Crypt dates back to 1123 AD and contains one of only two surviving ducking stools in England.




The 14th century Chapter House is dominated by the black marble tomb of 1st Lord Brooke, Sir Fulke Greville, who restored Warwick Castle in the early 17th century. His ghost is said to haunt the Watergate Tower.

The Beauchchamp Chantry Chapel said to be the finest medieval chapel in England.


The chapel was built between 1442 and 1460 as the Chantry Chapel for Earl Richard, son of Earl Thomas II according to instructions in his will. The effigy on the tomb is made of gilded bronze and the tomb below is made of Purbeck marble. The figures around the tomb represent the Earl's relatives. Richard Beauchamp (1382 - 1439) was a Knight of the Garter, Captain of Calais, Friend of King Henry V and guardian of King Henry VI, Lieutenant General of France and the Duchy of Normandy, Custodian of Rouen Castle during the imprisonment of Joan of Arc.

The tomb of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1533-1588) and Lettice, Countess of Leicester (his third wife). Robert Dudley was the 5th son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, a Favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, Knight of the Garter, Privy Councillor, Knight of the Order of St Michael, Master of the Horse, Holder of Kenilworth Castle.

The tomb of Robert Dudley, the Impe. He was Robert's one and only son and died in infancy in 1584.

Tomb of Ambrose Dudley (1528-1590), Earl of Warwick

The font dates back to 1704 and

the pulpit was presented to the church by local Freemasons to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

I hope to return to the church one day and spend a couple of hours there after I have read the guide thoroughly. I also must go back to Kenilworth Castle as they have created an Elizabethan garden since my last visit.

*D photos taken by D with the Canon SX50

Reference: Various Guides to the Church of St Mary, Warwick


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

That square tower has a very eastern european feel to it

Margaret Adamson said...

Lovely to see all thebuilding on this day andthe inside of the church. You must have been whizzing round very fast with your camera if you only had 30 minutes.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. I don't know too much re: church architecture but I think in the 18th century when the tower was rebuilt they were influenced by ancient classical architecture.

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret. I was that busy clicking I didn't take much in! Most of the first photos were taken by my son - his came out better than mine when light was low. Hope I can go back and do the church justice photo wise.

Rosie said...

How wonderful to see the Shakespeare First Folio! The church looks amazing and very interesting too. Hard to take everything in on one visit. I've never seen a ducking stool before. I hope you get to visit Kenilworth as the Elizabethan garden is fascinating:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much :) You are so right about not taking everything in on one visit. I must make sure I go back one day although I said that about Lichfield Cathedral and still haven't returned! Kenilworth isn't far - about 30 minutes :)

Wendy said...

I have enjoyed your posts on Warwick. I haven't been there for many years and it's been great to see it again in your lovely photos. I didn't know there had been a Great Fire of Warwick - its amazing then, that so many of the old buildings are still there. The church looks very interesting with so much to see - you did well to capture so much of it in your photos in just 30 minutes!

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much and I am so pleased you have enjoyed the Warwick posts. To be honest - reading the various guide books was the first I had heard about the Great Fire of Warwick too - I think it destroyed a good many old buildings so it is fortunate that places like Lord Leycester's Hospital managed to escape the flames.