St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray
IF you go down to St Mary’s Church today you’re sure of a big surprise…
IF you go down to St Mary’s Church today you’ll hardly believe your eyes…
Yes, our beautiful Grade I Listed building, parts of which date back to 1170, is now open to visitors from 10am until 2.30pm, Monday - Saturday. It underwent a dramatic transformation in 2017 and it now looks even more spectacular than ever, thanks to our Re-ordering Project.
The project included levelling the floor to create a step-free environment, putting in under-floor heating throughout, improved lighting, amplification and audio-visual equipment, a servery and storage space, toilets, a glass “air-lock” in the porch, upgrading the organ and adding a new stained-glass window in memory of our major donor, John Plumb.
To find out a bit more about benefactor John Plumb click here.
The new window, made by stained glass artist Derek Hunt in his Limelight Studios in Main Street, Medbourne, is pictured above, and was unveiled at a special Service of Praise and Thanksgiving in the church on Wednesday, December 13th, 2017. To view a report and pictures of this click here.
To find out more about stained glass artist Derek Hunt, and what inspired him when making the window, click here.
*Team Parish Website Editor Phil Balding was the only person to see the new stained glass window being installed last November. To view his pictures click here.
We received some special messages from the following people as the Re-ordering Project progressed:
Mayor of Melton, Tejpal Bains: "As the youngest Mayor of the Borough of Melton and the first from an Asian background, I am very fortunate that, as the 'First Citizen' of the Borough, I will get to see the completion of the amazing Re-ordering Project in the town's magnificent parish church. The project's completion wil bring new and exciting opportunities for both the church and the local community and I am delighted to lend my personal support."
Local MP, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan: "Judging from the enormous amount of materials stored in and around the church, the extent of the renovation has been monumental. I am full of admiration for all the hard work done to raise the money which has gone into making the renovation possible. My best wishes for completion and re-opening."
President of homeless charity Emmaus, Terry Waite CBE: " I am delighted to give my support to the Re-ordering Project for St Mary's Church. Because there are so many churches in the British Isles we sometimes take for granted their importance and significance in national life. Not only are they centres for Christian worship, they are also centres for the whole community and repositories of the history of the area. I wish everyone associated with the project all success in their endeavours."
The Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, Archbishop of York: "My prayer for the people of St Mary's, Melton Mowbray, is that whilst they are in exile from their church building during 2017, they will be so blessed with a fresh outpouring and renewal by the Holy Spirit that, when the time comes for you to return to your restored church, there will be many new disciples of Christ amongst your number. May God bless you in this exciting year!"
However, demands by the statutory bodies has meant that extra costs to the interior floor and outside pavement leave us £137,000 short of our target.
To find out how YOU can help with the Heart of St Mary’s Project click here.
If you did not follow the progress of the Re-ordering Project you can view Website Editor Phil Balding's reports and pictures as the work unfolded by clicking here.
What a wonderful resource St Mary's Church building now is, not only to the worshipping congregation, but also to the whole community in and around Melton Mowbray and further afield, with events such as the Christmas Tree Festival, hosting the British Pie Awards etc as well as it being a popular venue for services, weddings, baptisms and musical concerts.
To view reports and pictures taken at last year's Christmas Tree Festival click here. To find out about this year's event click here.
At St Mary's we have a regular Sunday congregation of well over 150 adults and children, and the number of worshippers is rising. On Sundays, there are regular services at 8am and 10am, with Choral Evensong with the Choir on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.
We also have weekday services and you can find a complete listing of these by clicking here. Our services vary in style in the course of the month, so there is sure to be one that meets your needs. We are a friendly, caring and open church community and welcome newcomers.
Our Director of Music, James Gutteridge, is a talented organist and choirmaster. Our choir is comprised of adults and children. If you are interested in singing and music email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to our variety of services, some held in the church and some in the Samworth Centre, we have a host of social organisations and groups which you are welcome to join.
One of the many items that have been restored during the Re-ordering Project in St Mary's Church is the Royal Coat of Arms. Pictured above is local conservator Alex Carrington at work. Alex had to scale scaffolding to carry out the work in the summer, which took a fortnight. Find out what she discovered about the Royal Coat of Arms, also pictured below, by clicking here.
The church is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2.30pm, with volunteers on hand to show you around or help with any questions. We welcome many thousands of daily visitors to our beautiful church. Many visitors comment on the special atmosphere in St Mary’s, its warmth and the welcome given by our wonderful band of Church Welcomers. On special days we have tours of the Bell Tower! Books on the church are normally available for sale at the back of the church along with a lovely selection of gifts and cards. After visiting our church, do have a cup of tea at the Samworth Centre Cafe next door.
THE RUNNING OF THE CHURCH
We are kept in good running order by our churchwardens, Ian Neale and John Spence.
St Mary's District Church Council (the DCC) meets regularly through the year to reflect and discuss on decisions concerning the life and activities of St Mary’s. The DCC is made up of a number of people representing many aspects of St Mary’s life: the clergy, churchwardens & readers, St Mary’s Parish Church Council representatives, St Mary’s Deanery Synod representatives, St Mary’s pastoral assistants and the elected DCC representatives.
HISTORY and ARCHITECTURE
"Leicestershire's most sophisticated church, even before we go inside." from England's Thousand Best Churches, author Simon Jenkins, published by Penguin Books)
St Mary’s Parish Church, in the centre of the market town of Melton Mowbray, is the largest parish church in the Leicester Diocese. It is certainly the finest. St Mary’s is a grand cruciform church with transepts and a crossing tower. The tower of scrubbed limestone has dominated the town for centuries.
The building dates mainly from the 13th-15th centuries. The stonework in the lowest section of the tower, which has Norman windows, dates from 1170, although there were certainly one or more Anglo-Saxon churches on this site before the Norman one. It is built on a plan more usual for cathedrals and the 100-foot tower dominates the town, and is a rare example of a parish church with aisled transepts (one of only five in the country) a feature usually found only in a cathedral.
The window in the church dedicated to Sir Malcolm Sargent.
The belfry contains ten bells. The earliest bell (No.6) is by John of York dating from the fourteenth century. Most of the rest have been recast. Until 1802 there were only six bells: then two more were added and in 1894 a further two made the total ten. In addition there is a small sanctus bell which dates from the seventeenth century.
The carillon, on which chimes are played two times a day (at 12 noon and 3pm), was restored in 1938.
Our organ, the Sir Malcolm Sargent Memorial organ, named after our illustrious choirmaster and organist from 1914-1924, has been rebuilt. To find out more about it click here. Find out about organ recitals in the church by clicking here.
FIND ST MARY'S CHURCH, MELTON MOWBRAY, LE13 1AE