History

We are very proud of our ancient church building, although we know little about its early history.

It’s up to you whether you choose to believe the legend of Pennard Castle. The story goes that the castle, the nearby church, whose ruins can still be seen, and surrounding homes were covered with sand by the fairies, who were offended because they had not been invited to a party at the castle. It is a fact that during the 14th and 15th centuries sand encroached on the hamlet and that the vicar wrote to the King’s Commissioners asking for help because his parish, church and the vicarage were being destroyed. It is probably sometime after this that St Mary’s became the parish church but the building, or certainly parts of it, had been there since the 13th century. The names of the clergy can be traced back to 1345 and two windows (in the South Wall) are of early 13th century design. There are many other interesting historical features including the musician’s gallery at the back of the church and the Jacobean pulpit, which was probably made for Shiplake Parish Church, Oxfordshire and has been cut down to fit its present place.

More modern additions include the memorial to the poet Vernon Watkins, who lived in Pennard and the beautiful Millennium window next to the pulpit, which depicts familiar features of the area.