Our Vision

... to transform the historic Church of St Mary, Devizes, into a new vibrant building

News & Reviews

Heritage Open Day 2022

St. Mary the Virgin church Devizes, viewed from Quakers Walk

Saturday 17 September 2022 10:00 - 15:00

New Park Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1DS

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Park Street, Devizes, dates from the Norman times and is one of the most important buildings in the town, with the church tower a particular landmark. The building is listed Grade I.

St. Mary’s was the original church in Devizes. The present building, started by Bishop Roger of Salisbury in 1143, replaced an earlier simpler church built outside the castle walls for the growing town.Entering the church by the south porch, one is impressed by the fine proportions of the interior, the graceful lofty arcades, the unusual height of the tower arch and the Norman work in the east end.

The Tower is one of the most remarkable features of St. Mary’s with its soaring tower arch. It is forty feet high and ten feet wide, its apex being level with the top of the clerestory.

No booking required

COVID-19 Considerations

This event will run in line with local & national government guidelines at the time of the festival

Review: My Place

St. Mary Devizes hosts Riding Lights Theatres company - My Place

my place cropped

Review by Meredith Kearley

A story of identity, uncertainty and hope

In December 2021 there were 80,850 children in the care system.

To help raise awareness, Riding Lights Theatre Company teamed up with the Christian charity, Home For Good to create the play, ‘My Place’. The cast instantly captivated with their truthful telling of four young people currently in the care system.

The story followed Melanie, Yonas and step-siblings Jazz and Mason - each child struggling with the uncertainty and stigma of being in the care system. Riding Lights found a beautiful way of telling these thought-provoking stories and weaving the narratives together through both song and spoken word.

Read more ...

A Wonderful Piece of Art

mez montage

The Jubilee has allowed Devizes to show its creativity, history and spirit. St Mary’s was no exception. St Mary’s is showing it has the potential to be an arts and community hub within Devizes. What better step than to have an exhibit made entirely by people within our community?


Review: The Jubilee Majesty Exhibition

Children from Wansdyke, Southbroom, and Trinity schools celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by working with renowned local artist, Joanna May and historian, David Evans over the Jubilee period.

The parish of St John with St Mary in Devizes has partnered with Joanna and historian, David Evans, to put on an exhibition entitled ‘Majesty’. The exhibition hit an unfortunate bump as Joanna contracted COVID, however a fantastic group of volunteers re-imagined her idea and used the children’s artwork to make a wonderful display.

The creative process behind the  artwork

Upon walking into St Mary’s, the volunteers were incredibly friendly and while looking at the piece I spoke to Shirley Urwin and Sophie Marshall about the creative process. The children from the schools had a workshop learning about Devizes and its links to the monarchy.

Read more ...

Event Planning Roles

Events Planning volunteer


Do you love the arts and would like to be involved with planning fundraising events in this amazing Grade 1 listed space, with fantastic acoustics and all sorts of possibilities for future events?


We are looking for people to help with the planning of and running promotion for events at St Mary prior to start building work there to create a new event space. You might be a musician, artist, or part of the creative community.

Experienced or not ~ your enthusiasm and ideas for exciting creative events are what we are looking for!

You will join a small volunteer Events Team formed to plan a future arts programme for St Mary, and be someone who has a little spare time to give, perhaps some experience in the arts, but mostly energy for and interest in our project at St Marys.

Find out what's involved...

April News Roundup

A Call to Professionals!

Kitchen Help Needed (not that sort!)

We need to find a co-ordinator for the furniture and kitchen equipment team. This could be your chance of making sure we are all sitting comfortably and get the fit right first time! 

Professional IT Services

The church and new build must be state of the art in IT and WiFi  so can you help specify what we need?

CONTACT US for specifications for the above or if you have any questions →

Invitations to Tender Sent Out

The Quantity Surveyor has checked the drawing pack and the St Mary’s building project has gone out to tender! Woohoo!

Read more ...

Good News at Christmas!

Merry christmas message with holly

Update Dec 2021

Faculty granted for the regeneration of the church

St. Mary Future Group is celebrating as we have received formal notice of approval from the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Salisbury for the plans to regenerate St Mary's into a multi-use cultural space.

This is the result of careful attention to detail by the church architects Chedburn Codd, with support from the Future Group, and in particular the sturdy work and persistence of Tony Scorer who has been at the heart of the project since it began.

Thanks must also go to all those who have supported our project through the difficult first phase, giving time and donations to our effort. NOW we can start to look forward with confidence.

Read more ...

Project Groups

 Project Group Update

Now that there is focus on detail and a start date is in view, the support groups are very important to ensure we get it right.

The breakdown of tasks/roles of a group is not fixed but will evolve to meet the real world.

Each group has a “Convenor” whose role is to pull things together and ther eis flexibility in the way they work with their own group. Ccontributors can work with more than one group.

Find out more...

Update: January 2021 - Volunteers & the Interior

As this initiative to regenerate St Mary’s into a valuable community asset moves closer to becoming a reality, there are a number of ways that volunteers can become involved in deciding and implementing what is delivered. These are the practical issues than can benefit from the experience of others.

Key Topics

  • Promotion of St Mary’s In order to fulfil the opportunities provided by a re-vitalised church, the need is to raise the profile of this unique event space. To make it part of a local centre of excellence that is Devizes town. The response to Covid-19 has shown that Devizes thinks and acts as a dynamic entity for the whole local area. Just think of the many other innovative projects in place and the huge number of groups promoting and supporting all aspects of life. These opportunities are highlighted by the plans for the Assize Courts; by the excellence of the performers brought to the town by the Devizes Arts Festival; the breadth of offerings by the Devizes Food and Devizes Beer Festivals, as well as all the activities initiated by the hugely popular Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts group

    Read more ...

Update: December 2020 - Under the Floor...

Encouraging words from the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC)

Our Church conservation architect, Chedburn Codd, continues to provide the DAC with information supporting the exciting plans for the future of St Mary’s. In a communication from the DAC received earlier in December we received very positive comments;

“This is an exemplar re-ordering scheme. The DAC committee were impressed by the detailed consultation checklist and the applicant’s answers. All appropriate documentation has been submitted.”

We know there are a number of more minor points still to be agreed but answers to these will become clearer as more detailed work is undertaken.

Read more ...

Update: November 2020 - Planning Approval

We are delighted to report that Planning Application 20/03841/FUL has been approved subject to a number of conditions about the detail of the materials to be used, other regulatory approvals that wil be required and the protection of the significance of the building.  This is the permission required for the external building that will provide, toilets, meeting room, offices and a small kitchen. What we are doing to meet these conditions can be downloaded here.

What Next?

The next step is to present this information to the DAC for their Formal Advice to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Salisbury.

After long consultations between Chedburn Codd - the St Mary’s Church Architect - and Wiltshire Conservation, Historic England, Wiltshire Diocesan DAC and other consultees, we have arrived at a design for the new build that seems to be acceptable to all parties. Click this link for a PDF of plan view of the proposed external build (January 2021 issue). 

Read more ...

Future Use Seminar 1st Feb 2018

A big Thank You to all those who attended!

We had around 60 attendees for the seminar - a great turn-out for a February weekday evening. we are grateful for your feedback and suggestions. If you wish to review the content, you can...

Download the Future Use Presentation

Results of the meeting

The meeting was well attended and there was lots of audience participation.  This resulted in confirmation that the concept of church and multi-use community space was most likely to be viable.  More detail can be found in the MEETING REPORT.

Getting St Mary’s future back on track

The meeting at St Mary’s included:

  • An update of work over the last year
  • What’s included in in the Conservation Management Plan [CMP]
  • Outline of the ‘Vision’ statements
  • Input from the attendees on suggested new uses
  • The meeting was be preceded by a quarter peal of the bells of St Mary's

More background info...

Short List for Future Use Seminar - Feb 1st 2018

The Parochial Church Council of St John with St Mary undertook an evaluation of all suggested new uses and have produced the short list given below.

The Parish has been told that there must be informed and objective consideration of the issues and constraints in any proposed new use. The problems of implementing that use must be acknowledged, as well as the opportunities it would give to the parish and the community. These deliberations should lead to an optimum future being identified that allows St Mary’s to become part of the community again and cause the least harm in both the short term and long term. A seminar should go a long way in achieving these aims.

A Future Use Seminar was held on 1st February 2018 7:30pm in St Mary's and the results used in the proposal documents.

The top eight new uses examined were:

  • Art gallery
  • Café
  • Central home for different charities
  • Church for another congregation
  • Craft workshop
  • Dedicated theatre
  • Drop in centre
  • Dual Use Church and community event space
If none of these can be implemented the it will be:
  • A Redundant church

Pew Removal Faculty Granted

July 7th 2017   - We have now removed the first three rows of pews.  If you would like to puchase one of them, then contact the Parish Office of St John's with St Mary's, Long Street, Devizes SN10 1NP. Open 10 to 12  Monday, Wednesday and Friday.   01380 724389.  They are around 2 or 4 metres long and can be adjusted by a competent carpenter.  This view shows the space now available at the Chancel end of the nave.  There is now 15.75 square metres of moveable "unistaging" available in St Mary's using 750mm square units   


Quinquennial Report

The latest draft Quinquennial Report contains a large number of maintenance recommendations. The bulk of them relate to the inspection and renovation of the rainwater and drainage goods. The most expensive work will be on several areas of the roof, including the north aisle, the tower roof, associated with the lead work. Stone repairs are suggested to the statue of St Mary and its roof; likewise the topmost stone of the south west tower finial needs investigation. The metal work around the window glazing also needs attention. The most intrusive work will be the recommendation for a complete overhaul of the entire pew platform within the next two years.
The most urgent work in the churchyard will be a complete overhaul of the entrance gates and a safety check on a number of box tombs and gravestones.

Look under the Floor

joistsSix pews from the North West corner have been removed as part of the plan to regenerate the church. Following Archdeacon’s permission these pews and the timber floor boards have been lifted and stored, this exposed the joists and joist bearing timbers with their supporting walls.

A significant amount of rot, possibly dry rot, has been discovered in these timbers, many of which crumbled at the touch. We think the floor has been held up by the box-like structure of the pews firmly attached to the floor boards and these to the joists, with the occasional brick pillar. The structural engineer thinks that inadequate ventilation in the sub-floor did not help.

Nothing of interest was discovered under the floor, just disturbed chalk over pure greensand, however on investigation of the boiler room area, known as “the coalhole”, which lies partially under this area it became obvious that the pile of bricks were from the collapsed doming and so a warning has been posted forbidding walking over the top in case it collapses.

Unfortunately the pews ends that were abutting the wall show signs of rot and beetle attack.