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Merevale Church & Abbey

St. Mary The Church of Our Lady Merevale is an historic parish church in Merevale, Warwickshire which is known for its Jesse window, it was originally part of Merevale Abbey but is now a Church of England parish church. The Church was originally the gate house to the much larger Merevale Abbey which was founded in 1148 and was a Cistercestan Abbey the abbey was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII some traces of it remain today, The Gatehouse survived and became a Church of England parish church. It is a Grade 1 Listed Building. The Battlefield Trust think that Henry VII stayed at Merevale Abbey on the night before the Battle of Bosworth which took place on the 22nd August 1485.

  • It is part of the Kingsbury and Baxterley group of churches along with Baxterley, Kingsbury, Hurley and Wood End. All five share the same Priest in Charge who is currently (May 2016) The Revd. Dr John White.
  • It is the only church in the parish of Merevale with Bentley which has 4 exclaves (2 near Twycross, 1 near Sheepy Parva Both in Leicestershire and one in Hams Hall in Warwickshire).
  • It is part of the Deanery of Polesworth, which is Part of the Arch Deanery of Aston.
  • It is the only Cistercian Gate Chapel to be open for regular weekly services throughout the year in the United Kingdom.
  • The Church Organ is a Johannes Snetzler chamber organ of 1777
  • The church contains possibly the earliest Cistercian wall painting in the country, which is urgently awaiting restoration.

Interior of the Church

The Jesse Window c1330

The glory of the church is the medieval stained glass, which is amongst the most important Cistercian glass in the country. This includes the famous Jesse Window of 1330-1340, which was probably originally in the Abbey Church. There are ten panels of Kings and Prophets, all linked by the branches of the vine tree, ‘wonderfully lively and as good as any surviving from the earlier Middle Ages’ as Simon Jenkins writes in his ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches.’ There is other interesting 14th, 15th, and 16th century donor glass and five good 19th century windows, including two in memory of members of the Dugdale family

Merevale Abbey

References

Wikipedia

Parish Website

A Church Near You

Historic England

Battlefield Trust

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