Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

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News & Magazine

Parish Magazine of St Mary's, Warwick: see the current issue

To contact the editor of the Parish Magazine please email

See the current Newsletter 

To submit information for the weekly newsletter, please email:

The Parish Office now in the Church, at the far end of the Beauchamp Chapel. Access is through the main West end door from 10.00am to 1.00pm, Monday and 10.00am - 3.00pm Wednesday - Friday. Ask at Reception for directions. The telephone number is 01926 403940. Clergy Surgery is held in the Church  on Wednesdays at 6.10pm; ring the Parish Office for an appointment.

Nave Ceiling Repairs

Work has now been finished in the nave of St Mary’s in Warwick on repairs to the ceiling.  This follows the fall of one of the plaster angel heads from the south aisle ceiling into the gift shop reported in December 2011, which prompted investigation and emergency work to remove some other decoration from the ceiling for safety reasons. 
Architects and contractors have tackled the work to replace the repaired head and some other decoration which was removed and have taken the opportunity to strengthen a stonework arch.  They have secured the surrounding area of ceiling and ensured that the water ingress which caused the fall is stopped. 
Visitors to the church and the congregation have seen scaffolding in the whole of the south aisle for the past 5 weeks and the St Mary’s popular Gift Shop has been temporarily relocated to the other side of the nave during the works. The gift shop is also being refurbished.

All at St Mary’s work hard to keep the building safe and beautiful for the town and for its many visitors, and to fund its ministry and the building’s needs.  We are grateful for the support of Warwickshire and Coventry Historic Churches Trust in contributing £1000 to the costs of these works which will total £23,000.

St Mary’s is in the early stages of a wider fundraising campaign to care for the building, and is pleased to have been chosen as one of the Mayor’s Charities for 2012-13.

Vacancies for St Mary's Scholars

Vacancies are currently available for singers in all parts. Contact Mark Swinton on 01926 403940, or email him at


St Mary's new flagpole is now in place. The previous flagpole had to be removed as its condition deteriorated to the point where it was becoming unsafe, but St Mary's were unable to fund its replacement. Thanks to the kindness of the Thornton family, we have been able to erect a new, steel flagpole, in memory of the late John and Peggy Thornton.

History of the Music at St Mary's

A new book on the history of the music at St Mary's, covering the last 900 years, is now available from St Mary's Shop, price £10.00. The author is Geoffrey Holroyde, former Choirmaster at St Mary's, and Vice President of the Guild of Ex Choristers. The book includes photographs covering the last 100 years, and personal reminiscences from ex choristers and other musicians dating back to the 1920s.

Mysterious balloon flight

An item of graffiti came to light recently in one of the rooms in St Mary's Tower. Some ballast was cleared, revealing the following message written on the wall:

Octr 12th 1784 Was Launched

a Balloon

being the 1st(?) ever


No one has yet been able to find a reference to this flight, which is within a year of the first manned flight in France, and two months of the first manned flight in Great Britain. The writing is unclear at one point, so it is uncertain whether a 1st, or a 2nd or 3rd flight, is being referred to. Is it the first flight from Warwick, or one of the very first in Great Britain?

Fulke Greville

There has been much interest in the media concerning the monument to Fulke Greville. This enigmatic structure stands in the Chapter House at St Mary's and, while it is widely believed to be Greville's tomb he is in fact buried in a sealed vault nearby.

The monument has come to prominence recently in relation to the Shakespeare authorship question. A publication by A W L Saunders makes the claim that Fulke Greville is the real author of Shakespeare's works, citing Greville's own claim to be the "Master of Shakespeare", and Ben Jonson's description of Shakespeare as a "monument without a tomb".

Fulke Greville had the most remarkable career, being a soldier, sailor, courtier, statesman, poet, spymaster, dramatist, historian and literary patron, and was noted for his friendship with the poet, Sir Philip Sidney.


The Fulke Greville Monumnt

The excellence of Greville's writing is attested to by many literary critics:

"Greville is one of the most profound of our poets" (John Buxton)

"How great a poet Greville is. It is my opinion that he should be ranked with Jonson as one of the great masters of the short poem in the Renaissance" (Yvor Winters)

"Fulke Greville was one of the finest sonneteers of his day" (John F Danby)

There has also been recent interest in the inscription around the monument; this is thought to be a Rosicrucian cipher like the inscription on the Shakespeare monument in Westminster Abbey. Even paranormal investigators have claimed to have received a message from Fulke Greville recently.

A W L Saunders believes that Greville has left important and significant documents in the monument, and  recent radar scan has shown the presence of objects inside which look like boxes. Further investigation using an endoscope (a small camera) has revealed only rubble, and evidence that the monument has been opened and investigated before.

The imposing monument may be viewed in St Mary's, free of charge, every day of the week. 

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