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Collegiate Church of St Mary



Other Information

  • The church was started in 1123 by Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick who also set up a College for Deans and Canons. The only part of this church that remains though is the crypt.
  • The Warwicks reached the peak of their power from the mid 14th century to the War of the Roses and rebuilt the church in grand Perpendicular style as befitting their status. The zenith of this culminated with Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick better known as "Warwick the Kingmaker" who by 1450 was the richest man in England after the King with an income of 7,000. The scale of this was such it was almost enough to pay for Salisbury Cathedral in four years and adjusted for inflation is worth perhaps 80 million a year in 2009 money.
  • Traces of the sheer wealth of the church's patrons are still visibly reflected today with the sumptuous the Beauchamp Chapel that was completed by Warwick the Kingmaker and housed his father in law. The painted west wall remains as do some 30 figurines complete with precious jewels still in them and an enormous tomb to the man the chapel takes its name after.
  • The church features the tombs of some of the most important non-monarchs in English history including Richard de Beauchamp, the Warwick mentioned in the play Henry the 5th and the famous "Band Of Brothers" speech, and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, the man rumoured to have been Elizabeth the First's lover.
  • The tower of the Collegiate Church of St Mary was burned down along with 200 houses during a disastrous fire in 1696 but rapidly rebuilt with completion only ten years later in 1706. The reconstruction is unusual for the day because it shuns the then Neo- Classical details in favour of an almost 100% faith rendition of Perpendicular Gothic similar to the rest of the church.
  • As befits the medieval status of the church, even though the college was abolished in 1554, there is technically a Bishop of Warwick who is a "Suffragan" as appointed by a 1534 act of Parliament. The Bishop of Warwick however is subordinate to the Bishop of Coventry and not a true bishop.


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Reference Data

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Last Editorial Date

Building Location

Church Street, Warwick. CV34
Warwick District Council
West Midlands
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

Construction start date
Completion date
Heritage Status
Grade I

Roof Height (AGL)

Market Data

Primary Use
Place of Worship
Secondary Use
Clock Tower

Metres > Feet