From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

St Mary's, Beverley

53°50'39.1"N 0°26'02.4"W
Early 12th Century

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St Mary's, Beverley is an Anglican parish church located in Beverley, Yorkshire and is designated a Grade I listed building.

The church was established in the first half of the 12th century as a daughter church of Beverley Minster, serving Beverley's trading community. Some 12th and early 13th century fragments remain scattered throughout the church. These determine that by the mid-13th century, the church consisted of an aisle-less chancel and transepts, an aisled nave and probably a crossing tower.

The church was extensively remodelled in the late 13th century, during the Decorated period, when a large chapel was added on to the east side of the north transept, the addition of a south aisle to the previously aisle-less chancel, in conjunction with a widening of east aisle of the south transept. The nave aisles were completely rebuilt in the early 14th century. In the 1330s or 1340s the chancel was given a north aisle, the three easternmost bays of which were made into a superb chapel with flowing tracery and a tierceron-star vault.

All work at St Mary's ceased in the mid-14th century, due to the Black Death. It did not resume until c. 1400, when the west front was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style and a Perpendicular clerestory was added to the nave. The south porch and a clerestory for the chancel followed in the early 15th century. The transepts were rebuilt with clerestories in the mid-15th century, the Early Gothic arches were reused, but set on new piers. Throughout the 15th and into the 16th centuries a series of fine wooden ceilings were added.

During Evensong on 29 April 1520, the central tower collapsed. The central tower, the nave arcades and clerestory were entirely rebuilt, work began immediately after the collapse, the south arcade bearing an inscribed date of 1524 at both east and west ends.

The font dates from 1530, the gift of a Beverley draper, William Leryffax. It is made from Derbyshire marble, richly ornamented with a defaced inscription.

The organ built by Donaldson of York, was placed in the rood loft at the east end of the nave in 1792. In 1869, Messrs Forster and Andrews built a new organ, said to 'boast a richly carved oak screen with handsomely decorated front pipes'. In 1889 the same latter firm installed a detached console besides the choir stalls and pneumatic action was added throughout. In 1908 it was completely rebuilt by Messrs Lewis & Co of London, when the oak case of the previous organ was discarded. In 1954 a major overhaul was carried out by local firm Messrs Hall & Broadfield who replaced the pneumatic action with an electromagnetic mechanism and transformed the three-manual organ into a four-manual instrument. The completed rebuild was dedicated in 1957.

St Mary's is a cruciform church, 197 feet in length, with aisled nave and chancel, south transept with east aisle, north transept with east chapel and crypt below, northeast chapel with adjoining sacristy and priests’ rooms above, and a crossing tower.

In 2020, the restoration of the stonework started with the replacement of some weathered stone carvings with newly commissioned figures based on characters from The Chronicles of Narnia books by C. S. Lewis.