GreaterLondonLEWISHAMStMaryVirgin(chrisstringfellowPERMISSIONBYEMAIL)2 ChrisStringfellow

St Mary the Virgin

This inner city church has served and stood at the centre of the Lewisham community since at least 1100 AD, it's history and building throughout the centuries record many remarkable stories for you to discover.

Lewisham, Greater London

Opening times

For church opening please visit church website or phone 020 8690 3298.


Lewisham High Street
Greater London
SE13 6LE

From the 10th century until 1414 Lewisham and Greenwich were owned by the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter’s, Ghent in Flanders. The whole area was administered from a Priory in Lewisham near St Mary’s. The Abbey also would have had the right to appoint vicars during this time.

There are few written records of the church during the early medieval period. However, the Assize records show that, in 1255, Margery the daughter of Roger David who, with her accomplice Geoffrey Le Rideled had murdered Agnes La Riche, escaped from prison in Lewisham and took refuge in St Mary’s where she confessed and 'abjured the realm'. Criminals could take refuge in a church for 40 days. If they then confessed to a royal official they could agree on oath to go to a named port wearing sackcloth and catch the first ship out of the country.

A new building with tower was completed in 1502. Then in the 1770s the church was rebuilt. The 19th century was a period of great expansion for Lewisham: its population leapt from 4,007 in 1801 to 53,065 in 1881. The attendance at St. Mary’s on Sundays averaged 1,500. The number of children at Sunday School was 250.

The Georgian building was deemed inadequate and was re-modelled in 1881 creating the present interior apart from the re-ordering of the chancel in 1995. A detailed online audio and visual guide by Historian Julian Watson of St. Mary’s History and its many features for you to discover and see can be found here.

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Social heritage stories

  • Wildlife haven

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Café within 500m

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Non-accessible toilets in church

  • Parking within 250m

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • Train station within 250m

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Wifi

  • Sunday : 10am Parish Mass 6pm Choral Evensong (First Sunday in the month) Sunday : 10am Children's Church (Last Sunday in the month) Sunday : 7pm Free Cheese & Wine Mini Concert (First Sunday in the Month, check website)

  • Monday : 7pm Bell Ringing and Crofton Brass Rehearsal

  • Tuesday : 10am Therapeutic Garden work team with 2pm tea Tuesday : 11.30am Al-Non (Crypt Room)

  • Wednesday: Knit & Natter (1st Sunday in the month Crypt room)

  • Thursday : 9.30am Mass Thursday : 7pm Choir Practice

  • Saturday: 9.30am Mass

  • Church of England

Contact information

GreaterLondonLEWISHAMStMaryVirgin(chrisstringfellowPERMISSIONBYEMAIL)2 ChrisStringfellow

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