The parish church of St Mary-the-Virgin is nearly 1000 years old, and is situated in the heart of Dover just along from Market Square. Dating from Saxon times, it was build originally by the secular canons of St Martin Le Grand, but was rebuilt by the Normans.
In the 16th century, St Mary's was given to the people of Dover by King Henry Vlll, who frequently visited Dover and St Mary's Church. Other visitors include Queen Elizabeth l and Charles ll.
Excavations under the floor near the font provide evidence of a Roman bath house underneath the foundations. Above the big Saxon stone arch is a wall painting by a Dutch artist, painted in 1889. There are a number of beautiful stained glass windows, including the Air Sea Rescue Window, Lady Chapel Window, the Great East Window, and The Zeebrugge Window.
The font is thought to be Norman and is made of Purbeck marble. There are interesting wall memorials, and don't miss the William and Katherine Jones Memorial Brass, dated 1638.
If you are able to access the gallery of the Norman tower, will see how the bellringers operate and you will see the clock workings and various artefacts in the clock chamber.
- The church of St Mary's is open to the public - you will see the 'Visitors Welcome' board outside.
- There is an informative visitor guide booklet which gives details of the wonderful history of this poignant church, and helps to indicate the various points of interest.
- 'Welcomers' will be on hand to answer any questions and give a guided tour.