The church of St Mary was built between 1220-1280, and extended between 1320-1350. The west porch doorway is recessed, and the tympanum has 13th century roundels depicting biblical stories. Carved into the spandrels of the north west window is a pipe and tabor player, probably of a similar date.
The scenes in the tympanum include the Annunciation, and Jesus amongst the doctors,
the crucifixion, and the three Mary’s at the tomb.
Inside this is a spacious building that used to be a Collegiate Church, the nave arcade is four bays in the Early English style.
The college in Archbishop Chichele’s time had a master, seven chaplains, four clerks, and six choristers. The misedricords in the choir stalls are carved with a number of designs including the Arms of Archbishop Henry Chichele, and a portait of him with two clerks.
Other designs feature a Pelican feeding her young with it’s own blood, and other mythical beasts and portraits.
The church also contains a number of brass monuments , including a civilian of c1540, a large monument of 4ft 3in figures c1425 to Archbishop Chichele’s brother and wife, and the Henry Denton (1498) chaplain of Chelveston wearing priest vestments.
The most famous monument though, is one of the earliest English brasses and reputed to be the best in England, is that dedicated to Laurence St. Maur (d1337) dean of Hereford. Around his neck is rectangle of cloth embroidered with cinquefoils. He is wearing a liturgical vestment which is heavily embroidered. Above the main figure in the canopy is a group of figures with Abraham seated in the middle and Saint Andrew and St. Peter to the left of him and St. Paul and St. Thomas to the right. The angels on either side of Abraham hold the soul of Laurence St. Maur.
The church also contains stained glass windows by Kemp and Tower, and the Lancaster firm of Shrigley and Hunt.Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite