St Mary the Virgin was built as a private chapel by the Waterville family in the 11th Century. Much of the church was rebuilt in the 13th Century and a bell tower was added in 1260 — this now contains 4 bells (the earliest dating back to 1606), which are rung every Sunday and for special occasions, such as weddings. It is an attractive church set inside a closed graveyard and surrounded by a dry stone wall. The church also has level, accessible access.
Since the millennium, St Mary's church has undergone extensive internal refurbishment, which has included the new lighting and sound systems, an efficient heating system, and the replacement of the traditional pews with modern comfortable seating, which can accommodate 120 people and which can be moved/reordered to allow for quizzes, meals and coffee mornings, etc. The old vestry was removed and an attractive pod installed containing a small kitchen on one side and toilet facilities (suitable for the disabled) on the other.
Jane King has published an informative booklet about those Orton Waterville villagers who made the ultimate sacrifice and whose names can be found on our War Memorial. Please click here to read it.
St Mary's Church
Wherever home is, there are familiar places, gathering spaces and landmarks. St Mary's church is one of those familiar places. There has been a church building on this spot for nearly 1,000 years.
You may not know it but St Mary's is your parish church – whether you are a Christian or not, a believer, a person of faith or a convinced atheist. It is your church simply because you live in the parish. The Ministry team's job and privilege is to be here for you – to walk alongside you, if you wish, during those joyful moments in life that call out to be celebrated – births and marriages for example. But it is also our privilege to be able stand alongside you when life is dark and bleak – when sickness, bereavement and death draw close to you.
It is the responsibly of the church family to point to a different sort of world based upon the values of truth, forgiveness mercy and compassion. We also care and care for a place of beauty for worship, prayer, reflection and meditation which all in the parish are welcome to attend.