Warren – St Mary’s Church


   The church in Warren was probably founded at the end of the 13th century, perhaps on the site of an earlier temple. Soon after, it was leased along with the parish to William Harold of Haroldstone, the local landowner. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the church was gradually expanded.  In the 18th century it was in such a bad condition that in 1770 the northern aisle was demolished. In 1855, the situation of the building still did not look good, and therefore the church was thoroughly renovated. At the end of the works, in 1870, a new spire was installed on the tower.


   The church initially consisted of a rectangular, single nave measuring 13.4 x 5.6 meters, a lower, shorter, also rectangular chancel on the eastern side, with a size of 10 x 4.9 meters, and a southern chapel, called the southern transept in English literature, having dimensions of 4.7 x 3.3 meters. As the northern arm was probably not built, the whole church did not have the shape of a Latin cross.
   In the fourteenth century, a porch was attached to the southern wall of the nave, and in the fifteenth century northern aisle was built and a slender four-sided tower was located from the west, built on a quadrilateral plan of 5.8 x 4.3 meters. It became the most distinctive element of the building. It was crowned with a parapet mounted on corbels and perhaps already in the Middle Ages with a spire. On the north-west side, it was equipped with a slightly protruding staircase.
   The original windows of the church were most likely small and medium-sized, pointedly closed, perhaps cusped or topped with trefoils, popular in the 13th and 14th centuries. Some of them, for example in the eastern wall, could be placed in the triads. The interior of a large part of the church (nave, southern chapel, porch, tower’s ground floor) had pointed barrel vaults. 

Current state

   The church has preserved to this day the perimeter walls of all medieval elements, except for the northern aisle and the more heavily rebuilt chancel. Unfortunately, the windows placed in the church today are mostly the result of a Victorian renovation, as is the 19th-century spire crowning the tower. Inside, the chancel arcade and arch of the south transept were rebuilt, but the barrel vaults in the nave, chapel and the ground floor of the tower has been preserved.

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Salter M., The old parish churches of South-West Wales, Malvern 2003.
The Royal Commission on The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions in Wales and Monmouthshire. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire, VII County of Pembroke, London 1925.

Website coflein.gov.uk, St Mary’s church, Warren.
Website warren-church.org.uk, History of Warren, The Church of St Mary.