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St Mary's, Ingestre | by Aidan McRae Thomson
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St Mary's, Ingestre

St Mary's church at Ingestre is justly famous, one of the finest 17th century churches in the country. There is no village here, it is very much an estate church, standing close to Ingestre Hall, and it's inhabitants, the Chetwynds and Talbots, are well represented by the wealth of monuments within, giving it a touch of a family mausoleum. The church is believed to be the work of Christopher Wren himself, who knew Walter Chetwynd, and quite possibly the best church of it's date outside of London (and unlike Wren's city churches it was spared war damage and therefore didn't need the major reinstatement most of them required).

 

The interior impresses with it's sense of light even on a dull day (and despite some rich stained glass by Morris & Co and other studios). The woodwork is superb, from the chancel panelling to the pulpit and Royal Arms over the chancel screen, all of high quality. The Annunciation behind the altar gives a more Catholic Baroque feel (from some angles Gabriel seems to be making a rude hand signal!). The monuments add some clutter, particularly in the confined space of the chancel, but are largely of good quality and unusual pieces in their own right.

 

This visit was the crowning glory of an excellent day, it made perfect sense to finish at this church since it would have been an almost impossible act to follow!

 

The church was generally only open at select times, but there is happily now talk of keeping the building open to visitors on a more regular basis.

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Taken on June 16, 2012