The History of St Mary's
The church is a Grade One listed Norman building constructed from sandstone and dates from the early 12th century. The church building seats 200/230 people on mainly fixed wooden pews.
In 1980 major restoration work was carried out costing over £250,000. This was paid for by significant additional giving from the congregation, as well as grants from English Heritage and local charities.
Cubbington was originally a chapelry of Leek Wootton and was granted to Kenilworth Priory at the Priory's "foundation by Geoffrey de Clinton in 1122. By 1331 it had become a separate parish and was appropriated by (fully granted to) the monastery; a Vicarage with House, Mortuaries, Altarage and small tithes being granted in 1345. The Mortuary was the right of the Rector to claim a dead man's second best beast, the first going as a heriot to the lord of the manor. Altarage, or altar dues, were the contribution the parishioners were obliged to make when burying their dead in the churchyard, or upon receiving communion on one of the holy days.
Monastic appropriation or owning of parish churches was very common and the effect of this was that the monastic appropriator became the rector (from the Latin for agent). The monastery could claim the tithe of crops and stock, the parish priest being left with the altar offerings and lesser tithe. It was the monastery's duty to provide the church with a priest, and as he therefore performed the various duties in the place of the rector he was called a vicar, from the Latin Vicarius i.e. substitute.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the right of advowson, i.e. the right of presentation to the church of a priest was held by the Crown, but in 1550 was granted to Sir Ralph Sad1eir. In 1555 it was bought by Thomas Shuckburgh in whose family it remained until 1587 when it was held by the Greswold family until the early 1700's, being transferred in conjunction with the manor of Cubbington Grange. In 1768 Edward, Lord Leigh held the advowson and it remained with the Leigh family until the1830's. It is now held by the Bishop of Coventry. The church was valued at £8 in 1291, the rectory was farmed for £6 and in 1535 the vicarage was rated at £6.6s.8d.
The Present Building
The building of our present church was probably started by the Augustinian Canons at Kenilworth in the early 12th century and when finished consisted of the nave, chancel, South aisle and Western tower. Kenilworth sandstone would have been used and masons from the monastery employed. In the 13th century the North aisle was added together with the South doorway, and possibly the aisles were rebuilt at this time also. The windows are 14th century during which time the chancel may well have been rebuilt and lengthened. The South wall of the Nave was raised to admit light through a series of clerestory windows in the 15th century.
The chancel was repaired by Lord Leigh in 1780 and considerable repairs were done to the South Aisle in the 1830's at which time the Nave roof was extended covering the clerestory windows. In 1885 major alterations were started. The roofing which had previously obscured the clerestory windows was removed and re-roofing completed. The Musicians' Gallery was pulled down and the.-North Aisle extended which greatly increased the seating numbers. New 'pitch and pine' pews were installed in place of the old high backed ones and the plaster was removed from the internal walls to reveal the stonework. The estimate for this and sundry other work came to £836.4.0d and subscriptions totalling £838.1.0d were raised. After the alterations the church was re-opened on Thursday, 17th September 1885 with Morning Prayer and Holy Communion at 11.00 a.m. and Evening Prayer and Sermon at 3.00 p.m., the Preacher being the Lord Bishop of Worcester. In 1896 the vestry and organ were added and electric lighting installed in 1933 to replace the gas.
The roof is a good open timber structure with tie beams that run from wall to wall and on whose ends the main rafters or principals rest. The principals have been given extra support by a pair of queen posts used on either side of the centre. The tie beam roof was the simplest form of roof structure used in medieval times, but the heavy tie beam itself was prone to sag in the middle and often needed support underneath by a pair of arch braces which curved down to wall posts.