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Best Religious Sites in Stratford-upon-Avon

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Also known as The Saxon Sanctuary, St Peter's Church, with its architectural influences from various periods in time, has been described as an epitome in stone of the history of the Church of England. Its Saxon tower and sanctuary, dating back to the 10th Century or earlier, make this parish church one of the most ancient buildings in Shakespeare Country. Whilst you are here, make sure that you visit the barn-roofed Lady Chapel. This features an exhibition tracing the history of this corner of Warwickshire at around the time of the first millennium, as recounted in the tale of Wagen, the local thegn (clan chief).

More like a pocket cathedral, Malvern began as a Benedictine priory in the 11th Century. Massive Norman pillars and arches support 15th-century stonework and a strikingly ornate bell tower. The medieval stained glass is among the best in England, as are the wall tiles. The 12 original oak choir stalls have charming carvings under the seats showing 15th-century daily life. Other carvings not to miss are monsters, an angel, a mermaid, and four rats hanging a cat! Set in a peaceful churchyard, the Priory is a short walk from the Great Malvern train station.

The Chapel, established by the Guild of the Holy Cross in the 13th Century and subsequently re-built in the 15th, looks more like a church than a chapel from the outside. This, together with The Guild Chapel's proximity to the town center, sometimes makes visitors think that they are approaching the Holy Trinity Church. The Guild Chapel, however, deserves a visit in its own right as it houses some stunning frescoes. The frescoes were painted over during the reformation in the 16th century but fortunately were revealed during restoration work some 300 years later. Of these, the fresco representing the day of judgment, above the chancel arch, is one of the largest of its type anywhere in the country. Services are held at The Guild Chapel every Wednesday morning and on the first Saturday of each month. There are no Sunday services. The Guild Chapel also serves as the school chapel to the adjacent King Edward VI Grammar School.

This landmark church is located in a picturesque setting on the edge of town, beside the river and approached through an avenue of lime trees. The burial site of famous playwright Shakespeare, Holy Trinity Church is considered to be one of the finest parish churches in the Midlands, and one of the most beautiful in England. A bust of Shakespeare on the north wall brings about and the much debated question: is it lifelike or not? Admission to the church is free, however they ask for a small donation.

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