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Church of St Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Ware, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.812 / 51°48'43"N

Longitude: -0.0332 / 0°1'59"W

OS Eastings: 535680

OS Northings: 214430

OS Grid: TL356144

Mapcode National: GBR KBL.BDY

Mapcode Global: VHGPH.CQT7

Plus Code: 9C3XRX68+RP

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 8 May 1950

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1217410

English Heritage Legacy ID: 412289

Location: Ware, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, SG12

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Ware

Built-Up Area: Ware

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Ware

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: Church building

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829-1/9/53 (South side)
08/05/50 Church of St Mary
(Formerly Listed as:
Church of Saint Mary)


Parish church. C13 chancel and transepts, remnants of smaller
building, nave rebuilt early C15 with clerestory, and aisles
added, tower at west end c1330, C15 south porch and south
chapel, and north chapel, now organ chamber. Restored 1847-9
by George Godwin, who renewed the stonework of many of the
windows, and again in 1886. South chapel restored 1903.
Exterior flint with clunch dressings, quoins, bands, string
courses, copings, offsets, doors and windows, and lead-covered
PLAN: cruciform plan, 3 bay chancel, with 2 bay former north
chapel and 2 bay south chapel, north and south transepts, 4
bay aisled nave, south porch and west tower.
EXTERIOR: C13 chancel much restored mid C19 and early C20 has
parapeted roof, lower than the transepts, and C15 octagonal
turrets which originally served the rood loft, project above
the roof, and rise to provide access to the nave and transept
roofs. Angle buttress to south-east corner. C19 5-light east
window in moulded surround, with projecting dripmould, with
cusped rectilinear tracery. Vestry to north of chancel, C15,
heavily restored mid C19, with embattled parapeted roof,
restored C15 3-light window with ogee headed cusped tracery
under flat head with projecting dripmould and C19 arched north
door. To west restored C15 former north chapel, organ chamber
since mid C19 with parapeted roof and two 2-light windows with
cusped ogee traceried heads under flat heads with projecting
dripmoulds. C14 south chapel, restored mid C19, with parapeted
and embattled roof, projecting angle buttresses, with two C19
3-light windows with cusped ogee tracery under flat heads with
projecting dripmoulds. C13 north transept, restored mid C19,
with angle buttresses and embattled parapeted roof at higher
level to that of adjoining north chapel and chancel.
Clerestorey with two C19 2-light windows with cusped trefoil
heads under flat heads with projecting dripmoulds. C19
restored 5-light north window with reticulated tracery. C14
north aisle with embattled parapeted roof, 4 bays, with angle
buttresses and diagonal buttress at north-west corner, 2
restored 2-light windows with cusped geometrical tracery, one
3-light window, restored west window with reticulated tracery
and C19 north doorway which leads into 1982 north extension.
C14 south aisle with embattled parapeted roof, 4 bays, with
one angle buttress, and diagonal buttress at south-west
corner. South porch C15, with C19 side windows, and restored
doorway with carved spandrels under flat dripmould; angle
buttresses and embattled roof. Restored C14 doorway from south
porch opens into second bay from west. Restored 3-light west
window with reticulated tracery, 3 restored south windows with
curvilinear tracery. Clerestorey of nave raised C15, with
parapeted embattled roof, four 3-light windows with cusped
trefoil heads, all restored. West tower in 5 stages, with
offset angle buttresses with clunch quoins, 4 stone bands, an
embattled parapet, and a recessed leaded needle spire or
`Hertfordshire Spike'. 2-light window over west doorway, clock
in fourth stage, with faces west and south. The bell chamber
has four 2-light windows with mouldings, and an inner arch
carried on colonnettes with moulded capitals and bases. C15
doorway, with moulded arch and jambs, and a C15 door, with
original locks, in north chancel wall. Further west is a C15
arch into the organ chamber.
INTERIOR: early C20 sanctuary steps and 1893 marble dado and
mosaic floor. In south chancel wall a C15 piscina with moulded
jambs and pointed arch under a square head, a C19 3-light
window, and part of a C13 moulded window jamb adjoining a
large round-headed arch divided into 2 by moulded stone
tracery springing from a central purbeck marble column of 4
clustered shafts separated by hollows. The chancel roof is C19
tie-beam and king post construction with traceried panels,
painted with arms including Trinity College, Cambridge, the
Diocese of St Albans and the Diocese of Rochester. The corbels
of angels playing musical instruments supporting the braces to
the tie-beams are restored C15. North chapel occupied by organ
since 1866, has C18 arch opening into north transept. The
south chapel has C19 windows, and a C19 restored roof, with
corbels, moulded beams, divided into panels, originally
decorated with biblical scenes. In the south wall is a
restored sedilia with piscina alongside, c1380 with moulded
cusped ogee arches, and carved heads, traditionally held to be
portraits of Henry Tudor and his mother, Margaret, Countess of
Richmond. The oak communion rails c1640 were brought from
Benington Church, with a Jacobean altar, and a reredos and
panelling installed during the 1886 restoration. The late C18
panelling of the dado around the chapel was fashioned from the
Ware Park pew, formerly standing in the nave. C15 oak screen
dividing the south chapel from the south transept, installed
across late C14 arch from south transept. C19 rebuilt north
transept window has wave moulded inner jambs and rear arch,
probably C13. Two arched recesses in north wall - central, low
down below window, with moulded jambs and a segmental arch,
and right, with a segmental and cinquefoiled with leaf
sub-cuspings, and an ogee crocketed head with head stops and a
foliated finial. C19 rebuilt south transept window has C15
double-ogee moulded jambs and inner arch, decayed C14 piscina
in south wall. The aisles have a C14 string course below the
windows. Nave arcade c1410, with complex mouldings, with
colonnettes recessed within the main profiles which run
through uninterrupted. Four 2-light clerestory windows, all
restored, but retain C15 inner arches and jambs. The nave roof
is C15, restored C19, of chestnut with moulded tie-beams and
braces carried on corbels, c1865, carved with figures of the
Apostles, and traceried spandrels. Squat moulded king posts
and moulded purlins and principal rafters, decorated with
heraldic shields, faces and grotesques. The tower arch is C14
with chamfered jambs and a moulded arch.
FITTINGS: font c1380 in westernmost nave bay, octagonal,
stone, with quatrefoil panels on the short stem, and on the
bowl figures of high relief of the Virgin and the Archangel
Gabriel, and Saints, alternating with angels holding musical
instruments and emblems of the Passion. Plain cover, 1979, by
Riley and Glanfield carved by Sigfried Pietzch, replacing
elaborate late 1840s Gothic style cover carved by Philip
Wynne, now displayed in north aisle. Mid C17 pulpit, oval,
Jacobean style, with lozenge-shaped raised panels and tapered
pilasters. In south aisle, west bay, are former communion
rails c1633, oak, with moulded top rail and vase-on-vase
balusters, removed during 1848 restoration and reinstated in
present position in 1933. At the time of their original
installation, these were the cause of the resignation of the
Puritan incumbent, Rev. Charles Chauncy, who subsequently
emigrated to the United States, and became the second
President of Harvard College, Massachusetts.
STAINED GLASS: E and W windows by Wailes, 1849-50. Chapman
Allen window, S aisle, by Shrigley and Hunt, c1885. Page
memorial window, N transept, Christ in Majesty flanked by
Saints, c1910 by Christopher Whall, influenced by Burne-Jones,
donated by Elizabeth Ann Croft. By the same artist the nearby
north aisle window, also donated by Mrs Page Croft, in 1905,
as a thank offering for the safe return of her son, wounded in
the Boer War.
MONUMENTS include, in the chancel a tablet in memory of Rev.
Charles Chauncy, Vicar of Ware 1627-1633 who emigrated to the
United States (vide supra), and a large Soane-style wall
memorial to William Murrell, 1826 by Rouw. On the east wall of
the south transept a large carved marble aedicule, flanked by
unfluted Ionic columns, surmounted by arms, above a broken
segmental pediment, commemorating Sir Richard Fanshawe, Bart.,
Privy Councillor and Ambassador to Spain, 1666. On the north
aisle wall, adjacent to the north door, a memorial to the Rev.
Robert Atkinson, by H Cox, Northampton, elliptical plaque,
with a tapered surround surmounted by an urn, with a shelf
below with books, inkwell and foliage, 1756. Brasses to Elene
Warburton 1454 in north transept; to a lady c1425, south
transept, to W Pyrry 1470, with wives and children.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the rebuilding of Ware Church c1380
traditionally associated with Joan of Kent, the `fair maid of
Kent', wife of the Black Prince, mother of Richard II and Lady
of Ware Manor. Local tradition associates the carved heads at
the termination of the arched opening between chancel and
south chapel with portraits of Joan of Kent and Edward III;
the crowned head at the apex of the arch of the C14 doorway
from the south porch is said to represent the Black Prince.
After the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII gave the
former Alien Priory (qv), the church living, and the land to
Trinity College, Cambridge as part of its endowment: the
college retains the living. The church fell into decay in the
C17 and C18, and was badly damaged by storms in autumn 1703,
which blew out the clerestory windows. The porch was repaired,
windows shuttered and porch doors were installed. By 1847 the
Vicar, Rev. JW Blakesley, set about restoration and appointed
George Godwin, editor of The Builder and The Ecclesiologist,
as architect. He removed the gallery erected in the north
transept 1687 for the Bluecoat boys from Place House (qv),
resited the organ in the north chapel, and restored, and
substantially rebuilt the stonework and windows. The pews were
installed in the 1880s.
In 1982 a large north extension containing church offices and
classrooms was constructed leading from the north door through
a linking corridor. It is not of special architectural
(Edwards E and Perman D: Ware's Past In Pictures: Ware: 1991-:
120-1; Hunt EM: The History of Ware: Hertford: 1986-1946:
41-55, 67-72, 154-7; Lavender S: Churches, Chapels and Faiths
of Ware: Ware: 1989-: 13; Perman D: 600 Yrs of Charity. A
Brief History of the Ware Charity Trustees: Ware: 1991-:
19-20; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N (rev. Cherry B):
Hertfordshire: Harmondsworth: 1977-: 20, 23, 376-8; Royal
Commission on Historical Monuments (England): An Inventory of
the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire: London: 1910-:
226-8; Perman D: Ware UD. List of buildings of special arch or
historic interest: 1993-: 1; Ware 25" to 1 Mile. Surveyed by
the Ordnance Survey Department: 1851-; The Victoria History of
the County of Hertford: London: 1912-: 381; Palmer D: St Mary
the Virgin, Ware, Hertfordshire: Hertford: 1980-).

Listing NGR: TL3568014430

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