Monday, 17 December 2018

St. Mary's Church, Beddington Park, a Little Gem in South London

I have walked by St. Mary's Church in Beddington Park, Surrey many times. The other day the church was open for visiting and I wandered in for a look about. I found an interior of artistic beauty and considerable historical interest. 

There has been a church on the site since Anglo-Saxon times. It was probably a wooden church. It is listed in Domesday Book (1086) a survey of most of England and Wales carried out by orders of England's first Norman king, William the Conqueror. 

Most of the present church dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, including the tower. But just past the tower, on the right of the central aisle, one comes to a Purbeck marble font dating from the 12th century.

The roof of the nave and chancel are wooden and highly decorated. The organ screen was designed and made in the workshop of arts and crafts pioneer William Morris in the late 19th century. It is believed that Morris painted part of the screen. 

View of the organ screen, on left.

To the right of the chancel is the Carew Chapel, which probably dates from the late 15th century. The chapel was dedicated originally to the family that owned Carew Manor next door. Many Carews were commemorated and buried under here.

The chapel contains an impressive tomb, a monument to Richard Carew (d. 1520). On the front of it a man, his wife, and seven children are portrayed. This was Sir Nicholas Throckmorton and his family. Sir Nicholas inherited the estate after the death of a later Carew,  his uncle Francis, and adopted the Carew name. 

There is much more to see at St Mary's, which is certainly worth a visit.  

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