ST LAWRENCE’S CHURCH, MEREWORTH
St Lawrence’s Church is a Church of England parish church. Services are held every Sunday morning and provide a mixture of traditional and more recent forms of service. You are cordially invited to join our services and will receive a warm welcome. Holy Communion and Mattins services take about one hour, and family services take about 30 minutes. The church is open every day during daylight hours, when visitors are welcome to come in to pray or just to enjoy the wonderful architecture and atmosphere.
There is no Priest-in-Charge at the current time. Locum Vicars are attending however. please contact Robert Earl for information regarding baptisms, weddings, funerals and any other matters. Robert Earl (email@example.com)
Secretary Mrs Viv Bennet (01732 872892);
Treasurer Mr Stephen Card (01622 812495).
Church Services and events at St Lawrence’s Church,
Mattins (Prayer Book) and sung Holy Communion (Prayer Book) are held on the first and third Sundays of the month respectively at 9.30 am. Family services (Common Worship) are held at 9.30 am on the second and fourth (children’s choir during term time) Sundays. Please check the Church notice board for exact details which are also published in The Record parish magazine.
Volunteers are always needed to read lessons, to help with refreshments after services, to arrange flowers, to act as sidesmen and women at our services, and to clean the church. None of these is onerous if enough people volunteer to ensure that duties only happen every two months or so.
We are always looking for new choir members, so why not come along to one of our Thursday rehearsals in the church, or, if you want to do something more physical, join the bell ringers and try your hand at ringing our newly tuned and hung bells?
St Lawrence’s Church was built for the 7th Earl of Westmorland in 1744-46, probably to a design by Roger Morris, previously an assistant to Colen Campbell who had designed the neo-Palladian Mereworth Castle for Lord Westmorland twenty years before. It replaced a church, mediaeval with a low tower, next to the castle.
St Lawrence’s is unique among country parish churches, with one of the most remarkable neo-classical interiors in Europe, designed like a Roman basilica. All its surfaces are painted with trompe l’oeil classical designs, and organ pipes are depicted on the west wall above the gallery. The ornate tower and spire have close similarities with several significant town churches, notably James Gibbs’s baroque St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The display of heraldic glass, contemporary with the church, is unique, and there are also some fine late 19th stained glass windows.
Mediaeval monuments from the earlier church were transferred here in 1744 and can be seen in the NW and SW corners of St Lawrence’s. There is a peal of six bells, rung every Sunday and at all other services.
Major repairs were made to the tower and spire and the interior paintwork was repaired and conserved in 2007-9. This work cost almost £1 million, and the Parochial Church Council is grateful to English Heritage and the Collyer-Ferguson Trust for providing major funding, and to the many donors to the Friends of Mereworth Church for the generosity which made this work possible.