St Mary's Church, Old Amersham
|St Mary's Church|
|Parish Church of Amersham|
View of the church from the south.
|OS grid reference|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Dedication||St Mary the Virgin|
|Years built||13th, 14th centuries|
The site of St Mary's Church has had Christian associations for many centuries. Early missionary monks of St Augustine and St Birinus travelled via the Roman Road Akeman Street, converting the local population to Christianity and baptising them in the River Misbourne. A place of worship has existed on this site since around 1140 A.D. The present church dates from the 13th century with additions in the 14th and 15th centuries, when the church was extended.
The parish has connections with the persecution of the Lollards in the early 1500s when a group of locals known as the Amersham Martyrs were burned at the stake on the hill overlooking the old town. In 1553, Scottish reformer John Knox preached his last sermon at Amersham before going into exile to flee the wrath of Queen Mary.
The patrons of the parish are the Drake family, the Lords of the Manor of Amersham, related to Sir Francis Drake. Around 1637, Sir William Drake purchased the Borough of Amersham from the Earl of Bedford. There are numerous memorials to Drake family members in St Mary's Church.
Several descendants of the Drakes have served as rector of the parish, including Rev. Edward Drake, who commissioned a major restoration of the church in 1890, and the external appearance dates from this time.
The body of the murderer Ruth Ellis was reburied in the churchyard extension of St Mary's Church. The headstone in the churchyard was inscribed "Ruth Hornby 1926–1955". Her son, Andy, destroyed the headstone shortly before he committed suicide in 1982.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to St Mary the Virgin Church, Amersham.|
- Amersham Museum, also in Old Amersham
- "History of St Mary's Church, Old Amersham". stmaryschurchamersham.com. Archived from the original on 17 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1979) . The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 46–48. ISBN 0-14-071019-1.
- "St. Mary's Church & new Rectory". Amersham Museum. Archived from the original on 17 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "The Drake family". Amersham Museum. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Drake Memorials". Amersham Museum. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Welcome to the fascinating world of bell ringing!". St Mary's Parish Church, Old Amersham. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Amersham Ringing". Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- Historic England. "Church of St Mary (1124855)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
- "Amersham St Mary with Coleshill, Amersham". A Church Near You. Archbishops' Council. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
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