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Chepstow Priory was built just a few years after Chepstow Castle, and its nave (or main seating area) is of this age, forming part of the original Priory / monastery. After the dissolution by King Henry VIII, the areas around the altar and choir became ruins and were later reconstructed by the Victorians. The stained glass windows are of this date and are very beautiful, along with the 'reredos' or wooden pictures around the high altar.
St Mary's is full of history. The church hosts two wonderful monuments to some of the fascinating local characters and is open every day from 10am - 4pm for visitors to come and investigate the history, admire its decorative architecture and artworks or enjoy some peace and tranquillity. The priory can also be somewhere that people who have suffered loss can light a candle and seek consolation. Services are held on Sundays at 11am (followed by coffee and biscuits - all welcome!), Sundays at 8am and Wednesday at 10am. Disabled access is available, though there are currently no toilets in the building.
Our churchyard is an area of great interest as it is in the process of being rewilded. We now have a policy of only mowing in the autumn to allow a great variety of wild flower species to thrive and propagate. Churchyards are rare spaces that have never been fertilised or farmed and are therefore not contaminated with chemicals. An area of brambles has also been left to offer a habitat to a variety of wild animals. Enjoy the wilderness while seeking out the old characters buried in the churchyard! Although no further burials are permitted in the churchyard, today people can opt to have their ashes scattered in the memorial garden, where there is a bench for visitors to remember them.
For more details of the history of the church, what's on in terms of events, and general discussion around the church please visit our facebook page Chepstow Priory Friends - if you would like to join the Friends please email us on Chepstowprioryfriends@gmail.com - or just come and visit our lovely building!
If you would like to donate £5 to Chepstow Priory Friends, to help with maintenance and upkeep of the church, please click on the link: