St Mary


  • Church Road
  • Cholsey
  • OX10 9PS

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Brief Description

St Mary's Cholsey is a village church with an active congregation. Founded as an abbey church by King Ethelred the Unready in approximately 986. Much of the church as seen today is Norman and it unusually retains its original cruciform shape. It was reordered internally in the 1980s. Agatha Christie is buried in the church yard.

  • Main Description

    St Mary's was substantially rebuilt between 1150 and 1170 and remains largely unaltered on the outside.

    The fine crossing arches are Norman work, although they have been restored at various times in later years. The carvings on the western capitals, some of the windows and the ornamented south nave doorway can all be admired today.

    In the 13th century a splendid light extension to the east end of the chancel was built. The height of the tower was increased at about the same time.

    A large window was put in the south transept in the 14th century and another large window in the west end of the nave in the 15th century.

    The Victorians implemented major restorations and reordering of the church in 1847 and 1877. Four large new windows were put in the nave, with stained glass depicting the medieval monastic life of the church. Two additional lancet windows were put in the chancel, replicating the six thirteenth century lancet windows that were already there. A new decorative floor of different coloured machine-cut tiles was placed in the chancel and indeed the floor was raised in steps towards the holy table at the east end.

    In the early 20th century a very striking stained glass portrait of Christ as the good shepherd was put in the window at the west end of the nave.

    In 2003, St Mary's became linked again with the parish of Moulsford as a joint benefice.