The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Ross-on-Wye is the largest of the churches of the Benefice and one of the larger churches in Herefordshire. The church serves a town of some 10,000 inhabitants.

The church is open every day from 9-5 to visitors and for private prayer. A major reordering of the building has recently taken place and since then we’ve been growing as a centre for the community alongside worship. We’re confident you’ll find a bright, spacious building that very much reflects the community it serves.

The spire of St Mary’s, the tallest in Herefordshire, towering 205 feet into the air, can be seen from miles around as a welcome to worshippers and visitors.

From the Prospect nextdoor, there are views across the horseshoe bend of the River Wye to Brampton Abbotts, and well beyond the boundaries of the Ross Parishes as far as the Welsh Mountains.

As the only Anglican church in the town, St Mary’s plays an important part in the lives of many. We host services from weddings and funerals to Civic Services and Toddlers’ services.

Visiting St Mary’s Church

St Mary’s is open every day during daylight hours. A member of a team of people on “Church Welcome” may well be there to welcome you, if not you are most welcome to look around. Free leaflets are available for visitors to guide them around the church and information panels are located around the building. There’s also a hedgehog hunt (there are 14 to find around the building).

On Street car parking is available all around the church, failing that there are car parks close by.


Most of the present church was built between about 1284. By the middle of the fourteenth century the east end had been extended and the tower added, together with the porches to the north and south (green and red). The Markye Chapel on the south side was attached in 1510 (purple). The present ground plan of the church was completed in the nineteenth century with the addition of the organ chamber (yellow).


The building is in the Decorated style, with slender columns and pointed arches. There are six piscinae in the church, indicating that at one time there were six altars.

The stained glass in the east window dates back to 1430, and has an unusual history. Other items of special interest include a small stained glass window above the chancel arch depicting Joseph holding the baby Jesus (an almost unique portrayal), a memorial in the chancel containing a poem written by Sir Walter Raleigh on the eve of his execution, and memorials to John Kyrle, the Man of Ross (chancel) and the Rudhall family (at the top of the south aisle)

The latest version of a full and constantly evolving guide to the history of St Mary’s, can be downloaded here: 

A good deal of research has been undertaken recently into the veterans remembered on St Mary’s World War I memorial. This has been published in 4 books which are available here.

Hire the church

St Mary’s Church is also available for community use. A wonderful new range of activities are able to take place in the town’s most precious building. The building now has toilets and catering facilities and the whole of the nave now has flexible seating (or none at all if necessary).

St Mary’s Hall, on the north side of the churchyard, is frequently in use through the week for many community groups.

If you are interested in hiring either facility please see the information here.

Reordering of St Mary’s

St Mary’s has just undergone its biggest transformation since the mid nineteenth Century. The space inside the building is now equipped to support a range of uses and better equipped to serve the town and community for both worship secular use.


For detailed information on what’s been achieved and what’s planned, and to keep up with projects as they progress, please see the dedicated site for the project.