St Mary’s Church
There has been a Church on the present site for over 800 years. St Marys’ began as a Chapel of Ease, whose rights were given by Sir William de Burle to Bordesley Abbey in 1189. These were then given in 1221, by John de Burle, to the Prior of “Wotton Wawen”. At the Reformation, when the Abbeys were suppressed, their rights passed to Kings College Cambridge. In 1730 Divine Services were held once a fortnight. Services are much more frequent than that of today.
From May 1929 the patronage of the living passed to the Bishop of Coventry. Bearley Parish is part of the Arden Valley Benefice which also includes the Parish Parishes of Snitterfield, Wolverton, Norton Lindsay and Langley. The register of baptisms in the church begins in 1549, of marriages in 1550, and of burials in 1552. There is a gap from 1647 to 1653 due to the Civil War. Parish records are held in the Public Records Office in Warwick, but a copy of some 16th Century records are on show in the Church.
The Church is a “single cell” structure with the Nave dating back to the 12th Century and the Chancel to the 13 or 14th. The octagonal Font is believed to be 15th Century. The building was extensively rebuilt in 1875 when the brick tower (1830) was altered, windows were opened up and new buttresses added. The small East window, by Hardiman, dates from this time. The chancel floor was raised and the graves of the Ryland family (related to George Washington) were covered. The three bells were recast and replaced by the current single bell which weighs 200kg! The interior was remodelled into its present form in1963. An attractive abstract memorial window representing the River of Life was installed in 2001. The roof was replaced in 2004 at a cost of over £15000 and the interior redecorated in 2008. Neither receiving any external funding.
Treasurer: David Harrison 01789 731042
Verger: Gwen Smith: 01789 731798