- Category: About us
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History of SMB
St Mary's Church stands on the site of the original Norman Church. This church was probably square, with narrow windows, red & gold painted walls, a rush matting floor and possibly a single wooden bench for the elderly or infirm. All that now remains of the original church is the South Doorway, which now serves as the main entrance to our church and which was moved to its current location early in the 14th century.
Over the years a number of modifications to the church were made:
- at the end of the 13th century the chancel was built to its present size
- by 1330 the North East chapel had been added (in memory of Lord Grey who died in 1324)
- in the 15th century the tower was added
- in the mid-19th century stained glass windows were added when prosperity came to Bletchley with the railways
In the church lies the tomb of Lord Richard Grey de Wilton who died circa 1441 at Water Hall and the coffin lid of his ancestor Sir John Grey who died in 1266.
There also lies the Table Tomb in memory of Catherine, wife of Dr Browne Willis a former Rector of St. Mary's . This is dated 1724. This tomb has been moved a number of times through the centuries and currently sits in the chancel.
Other antiques, such as a prayer book from 1634 and a Bible said to have belonged to Charles I are housed at Bucks County records office in Aylesbury.
There have bells in the tower since 1629. There were originally four, but since 1760 there have been eight. They have been recast several times - lastly in 1924.
Like many churches, St. Mary's bears witness to the life and work of God's people through the centuries, with each generation adding its contribution to the building. In recent years, we have transformed the interior of the church into one reflection our understanding of God.
In 1985, the church was reordered. A stone floor was installed with under-floor heating. The new furnishings are lighter (both in tone and weight) and provide flexibility in their arrangement, allowing the interior to adapt to the needs of the church in the present and future. The altar and dais stood in the centre of the church with seating arranged in an arc around it.
In 1996 a major change was made to the interior of the church when a two-storey structure was built within the North East corner of the church. This structure consists of a kitchen, toilets and a new vestry, above which there is an upper room. This upper room is used for meetings in the week and for a crèche on Sunday mornings.
In 2002, we again modified the layout. We re-arranged the interior restoring the aisle and positioning the altar in the chancel at the east end of the nave.
The styles of worship in our church has altered over the years. A Sunday family service at 9:15am & 11 am is our main act of worship. For the early birds amongst us there is a Sunday morning service at 8am, which is more of a traditional service. However, our services blend the best of the old and new, from traditional prayer book, to more freely structured services. We have a main evening service at 7pm which is more contemporary.
We have many children's and young people's activities. We give away 10% of the income the people of St. Mary's give to God while maintaining and improving this mediaeval building. We meet in various groups to study our faith and learn, and to enjoy each other's company. We contribute to the life of the local community through our 'Food Cupboard' where local families in need can be helped. We also support a number of missions abroad.