The Church of St Mary the Virgin Ware is an open and lively church community, worshipping in a beautiful historic building in the centre of Ware.
Guide booklets and information are available to help you explore the building, and there is often someone around to chat with. There are plenty of little corners for private prayer and reflection, with places to light a candle, leave a prayer request, read the bible, and sit quietly and contemplate. The sacrament is reserved in the Lady Chapel.
As you enter, on the left there is a bookstall for you to browse – and buy from. There are even some comfortable chairs if you want to sit and read what you have found.
There is level access from the South Porch and at both entrances via the Hall, and a ramp into the Lady Chapel. Currently we are not able to offer level access throughout, but we hope all visitors will have plenty to see and enjoy. There is an accessible toilet and a baby change facility.
Our 'Mission Action Plan' can be viewed here: Mission Action Plans - View - Diocese of St Albans (anglican.org)
Our agreed Vision and Values Statement is:
St Mary’s is a church community that seeks to be a vibrant and flourishing Christian community that loves God with all its heart and might and loves its neighbours as itself. A community whose love is clearly discernible in its spiritual life, pastoral care and mission in the world. A community that engages with its parish and its wider neighbourhood; living God’s love with generosity and joy, imagination and courage.
Guided by the faith we share, and our core values of:
· Love for and care of God’s creation
· Visible faith
· Tolerance, openness, peace and reconciliation
· Inclusion and welcome of all irrespective of gender, background, race, age, sexual orientation, physical ability, or mental health.
· Fairness and just treatment for all, locally and globally.
A little history
There is evidence of there having been a church in Ware for over a thousand years. When the Domesday Book was prepared there was "a priest" at Ware. The church is mentioned in a charter given by William I to Hugh de Grentmaisnil giving permission to found a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Evroul, Normandy, in Ware and handing over the church to the alien priory. During the 15th century the church was enlarged and beautified by Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII. The church is regarded as a fine example of 14th and 15th century architecture and contains many items of historic interest. St. Mary's has had a reputation for its music for over a hundred years. The Hill 3 manual organ was built in 1860. It was rebuilt in 1985 and refurbished in 2016.
A few more St Mary's dates and names
· There has been a Church on this site since the Norman Conquest, 1066
· Henry VIII gave the Priory, Living and the land to Trinity College, Cambridge in the Dissolution of the Monasteries
· The pews were installed in the 1880s
· Rev Charles Chaucey was the Vicar from 1627-1633. He emigrated to the USA and became President of Harvard College, Massachusetts
· Richard Fanshawe has connections with the Church. He was Charles I’s ambassador to Spain, 1666