Our beautiful and historic parish church has been the centre of the Wendover community for over 700 years.
St Mary’s is steeped in history. In medieval times the rood cross was venerated as a place of pilgrimage. During the Civil War, Cromwell’s troops camped in the church (you can still see the graffiti) and in 1799 the first penny savings bank in the country was started in the vestry.
For generations the church has participated in the main events of life. Babies are baptised, young people are confirmed, and couples are married and at the end of our earthly life we are commemorated before our remains are laid to rest in the churchyard.
St Mary’s is a living building, meeting the needs of its members and the village community. Week in, week out, the active congregation comes to worship God and local organisations use the facilities of St Mary’s Centre. The church is also used for musical concerts and other village events.
The building’s history
Although it is certain that a church has existed on the site since the 12th century, the present building dates mainly from the early and later parts of the 14th century. It consists of a tower, nave, chancel, north and south aisles, north and south porches an chancel aisles (the north side now being St Mary’s Centre).
The building was restored in 1838-39, 1868-69 and in 1914. The fittings are mainly Victorian with some excellent examples of stained glass. More recent improvements include new glass entrance doors, a bell ringing floor and external lighting.
In 2010/11 we closed the church and carried out an extensive refurbishment aimed at ensuring the building could be used for a range of community activities as well as worship. We now have a new stone floor with underfloor heating, high quality chairs and benches, a high efficiency multiple-scene setting lighting system, comprehensive sound system and projector with retractable screen. We are really proud of the refurbishment. It is still a sacred space and is now very flexible, and appreciated and enjoyed by all who visit and use the special space.
There is a book describing the history of St Mary’s available at the back of church or from Just.