The Parish of Doddington has existed for almost a thousand years when the manor of Doddington was owned by the monastery at Ely and a short while afterwards a Bishop’s palace was built in Doddington. The Parish included Benwick, Wimblington and March until the 1870s and covered an area of 37,000 acres making it one of the largest parishes in England, and it was one of the richest parishes in the country.
It is believed the most famous Rector of Doddington was Christopher Tye, who was a musician to Queen Elizabeth 1st and composed the familiar tune, ‘While Shepherds Watched.’
The Church we see before us today stands on the site of an earlier building and dates back to 1250. This building was mainly completed by the 15th Century and experienced extensive restoration work during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Church has lots of fine features some of which date back to long, long ago and others are more recent.
The nave roof displays some beautiful examples of angel carvings. The chancel is in the oldest part of the Church. The windows date back to the 15th century as does the screen which has been extensively restored. The tomb-stone of Sir John Peyton who succeeded Sir Walter Raleigh as Governor of Jersey and Guernsey, and who was granted the manor of Doddington by Queen Elizabeth 1st in 1601 lies in the floor in the sanctuary.
On the north side of the chancel and at the end of the choir stall, there is a very small carving of a bloody hand which reflects an incident involving one of the Peyton family who accidently killed his man servant.
A recently restored altar frontal hangs on the north wall of the chancel. The east window in the north aisle is an early work by William Morris and Rosetti which was given to the Parish of Doddington in 1923.
The Church has a font at the back of the building which dates back to the 13th century and holds a plain octagonal bowl.
On the west wall, quite high up, a coat of arms can be seen. The organ was given to the Church in 1938 and stands beneath the tower.
Some lovely stained glass panels have been incorporated into the porch screen and were brought from Benwick Church after it was demolished due to subsidence in the 1980s.
Some interesting headstones can be found in the Churchyard and the ancient Calvary cross which stands near the lychgate, was found in a field close by where it had been buried for centuries.
There is car parking available near the Church and Churchyard and the building has toilet facilities. The key to the Church is available from the wardens.
Outside St Mary's in Doddington
Inside St Mary's in Doddington