Origins of St Mary’s Church
866 – 1375 AD
In 1066 William of Normandy conquered Saxon England. The manor of Atherstone was snatched from its owner, Lady Godiva. It was given to the French Abbey of Bec.
The French monks replaced the Saxon chapel. Local people had to walk to church in Mancetter. From 1125 the monks allowed funeral and baptism services in Atherstone’s chapel and service three days a week.
Around 1360 the monks bought a bell for the friary. Made of cast iron, this bell weighs over 800kg (16cwt). Its voice rang out over Atherstone for 300 years. Today the bell rests at the back of the church.
The French monks were thrown out in 1375
because England was
at war with France. Twelve English Augustinian monks took over. They replaced the old chapel with a sandstone chancel, nave and a tower.
Read more.... St.Mary's Story Part 1 886AD to 1400AD