St Mary the Virgin is one of the most significant Norman churches exuding a special spirituality rooted in its unique history.
It has taken the church of St Mary the Virgin nearly nine hundred years to become as we know it today.
The Domesday Survey of 1086 mentions two priests at Stoneleigh, but whatever building there was at that time, it was probably of wood.
The earliest sandstone structure of the church is 12th century, much of which remains. The church has a wide three-bayed Norman nave and a two-bayed chancel together with a fourteenth century south aisle. Over the centuries the structure of the building has evolved to what we can see today. The most recent restoration work to the roof and stonework, made possible due to a large grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, was completed in 2017.
Most of the 19th century internal alterations were funded by the Leigh Family of Stoneleigh Abbey. The church also holds a number of important 20th century embroideries and tapestry works which help characterise the building as a special place of community worship.
Steeped in history our church has so much to offer the visitor. If you only have a short time for your visit we suggest you follow our short guide that will help you find the seven things to see when you visit our church and look at the time line of the history of the building. If you can spend longer the Stoneleigh History has complied a full history of the church and this can be found in the Leigh Chapel.
The churchyard has been a burial ground for hundreds of years and each grave can tell its own story. In the 1980s the Stoneleigh Women’s Institute completed a survey of the graves. A copy of this can be found in the exhibition area in the Leigh Chapel.
In 2016 the Stoneleigh History Society launched their Burial and Census Database both of these records are of particular help to those researching their family ancestry.
Our Village Heritage
Stoneleigh is one of Warwickshire’s prettiest villages set in the heart of the country in the ancient Forest of Arden, close to Kenilworth, Leamington Spa and Warwick and less than 4 miles from the centre of Coventry. The village is situated on the banks of the River Sowe close to where it meets the River Avon. With its pretty timber-framed and thatched cottages, lovely sandstone almshouses and the historic church, Stoneleigh is in many ways the quintessential English village. It has managed to maintain its distinctive character largely due to being the main estate village associated with Stoneleigh Abbey.
In addition to the church there are 70 buildings of high architectural and historic interest, including the 10 almshouses and the village club. At the heart of the village sit pretty timbered cottages, steeped in a thousand years of history. The village was designated a Conservation Area in 1969, and this was extended in 2001. Visit our village heritage gallery. A more detailed history of the village can be found on the Stoneleigh village website