Church of St Mary the Virgin, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
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An ancient church with world famous stained glass
The spire of St Mary's is one of the tallest in England and for over 500 years it has dominated the skyline of Shrewsbury's old town. In 1739, showman Robert Cadman attempted to slide from it, head first, using a rope and a grooved breastplate. His engraved obituary stands outside the west door.
The church is now the only complete medieval church in Shrewsbury. It dates from Saxon times and has beautiful additions from the twelfth-century onwards. Inside, the atmosphere is peaceful with the soaring stone arches giving way to the church's great treasure - its stained glass. There are panels in glorious colour including the world-famous fourteenth-century 'Jesse window'; filled with figures of Old Testament kings and prophets, and scenes from the life of St Bernard - a Medieval cartoon strip that shows him ridding flies from an abbey, riding a mule and curing the sick. No other church in the country has a collection to equal it.
Most of the glass was brought from elsewhere, much of it from Europe, by two remarkable clergymen, and installed in St Mary's during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Warmth and richness is also provided by superb Victorian coloured tiles on the floor. Lifting your eyes upwards, you will see the wonderful fifteenth-century carved oak ceiling of the nave, with a profusion of animals, birds and angels.
Other details delight you wherever you look: an ancient font, Medieval stone carving on the arcades, interesting monuments. The beauty and variety of this church and its contents, all on a grand scale, blend into an uplifting and memorable whole.
The cafe at St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, run by the Battlefield 1403 farm shop and deli, is now open Monday to Saturday 10am - 4pm.
A memorial church to a bloody battle
A survivor of re-modelling
A Saxon church built on the Roman site of Viroconium
There are no parking facilities at the church.
Disabled access information
Wheelchair access is possible from the church yard through the west porch door to all areas of the church, with two steps to the sanctuary/altar and Jesse Window.
Steps to chancel from the crossing, Trinity and St Catherine Chapel's. Ramps available for St Catherine's Chapel and into coffee shop.
On-site cafe and shop.
Shrewsbury town centre location, off St Mary's Street.
Nearest railway station: Shrewsbury (15 minutes walk). Bus route numbers 33/435/492.
Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church before you visit? You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this church.Shrewsbury St. Mary - Your Church Tour Shropshire County Guide 2012
This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches we care for in Shropshire and Staffordshire. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.
All our Shropshire churches are in our North region.
Useful local links
- Visit Shrewsbury
- Tourist & Visitor Guide for Shrewsbury
- Shropshire Tourist Information
- Shropshire Tourism
- Shropshire Family History Society
- Shropshire History
- Shropshire Historic Churches Trust
- Ironbridge Gorge Museum
- Visit Ironbridge
- Diocese of Lichfield
About the Friends of Shrewsbury Church
Contact name: Mr Tom Knight Contact telephone: 01743 357006