St Mary The Virgin's Church, Downe Church

Image Source: Chris Luscombe


Dominating its tiny village square, St Mary's Church is obviously the result of much Victorian intervention. Records show that the church was in a poor condition until rescued by the architect Daniel Bell in 1879. He used Bath stone for his new dressings- quite out of place in a flint-built church where Ragstone is a more suitable material. However the church retains its original floor plan and was not enlarged, as was so often the case. The interior really is a late 19th century treasure trove - with brass candelabra aplenty. The east window depicting the Crucifixion was designed by Evie Hone to replace a Victorian window destroyed in the war and dominates the interior. Other 20th century glass commemorates the round the world yachtsman Robin Knox-Johnston. Ledger slabs in the floor hold some small medieval brasses, but a huge brass has been taken up and placed at the west end of the church. It commemorates Giacomo Verzelini, the Venetian glassmaker who worked for Queen Elizabeth I. It is a rare thing to find in an age when brasses were very much on the way out. This is a much loved church and one wishes it was open more often for visitors to appreciate.



Church Data


1851 Census Details


Seating Capacity: 150

Morning Attendance: No service

Afternoon Attendance: No service

Evening Attendance: No service


Architecture Details


Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval

Restoration: 1872 Bell

Second Restoration: 1879


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Whilst I am happy to answer any historical or architectural questions for all churches on this site, I cannot answer day-to-day queries relating to Family History, services, burials etc. Please see the Contact page, for details of other organisations that may be able to assist with those sort of enquiries.


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