St Mary's Church, Beverley

making disciples

Reform, Rebellion, Restoration: St Mary’s, Beverley & The Tudors

Our exhibition telling the story of Beverley’s dramatic Tudor history through life-size reproductions of paintings in the National Portrait Gallery is now open:

Visit St Mary’s this autumn to come face to face with some of the most famous figures from this tempestuous period of English history, including Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth I:

St Mary’s is open 11am-3pm, Mon-Sat, and entry is free. Don’t miss the chance to see high definition facsimiles of these magnificent portraits up close, in a journey around the entire church which casts new light on its Tudor heritage, including the colourful nave roof bosses.

Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him

A highlight of the exhibition will be a talk on 14th November by Tracy Borman, joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces. Based on her latest book, ‘Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him’, Tracy’s talk will delve into the world of Henry’s relations, servants, ministers, rivals, confidantes and companions. The talk will either take place in St Mary’s or – if that’s not possible due to the pandemic – via webcast.

An outstanding work of historical artistry, a brilliantly woven and pacy story of the men who surrounded, influenced and sometimes plagued Henry VIII.‘ Alison Weir

Tracy Borman

Nature & Nurture

We’re proud that the exhibition includes a fringe, showcasing local artistic talent. First up is painter Emma Garness who will be in residence 23rd October – 7th November. Emma’s show is titled ‘Nature & Nurture’ and will be in the South Transept of St Mary’s.

Many people in the area will be familiar with Emma’s large-scale set paintings for theatres including East Riding Theatre. Her most recent work is a huge mural for St Paul’s Boxing Academy in Hull.

Taking inspiration from local walks with her 3 children, ‘Nature & Nurture’ is Emma’s response to Mother Nature and motherhood. It includes a seed exchange so please come along with seeds from your own garden and help yourself to seeds donated by other gardeners.

The poster ‘Nature & Nurture’, the first show in the exhibition fringe


For a flavour of what’s in store, visit Streamers on North Bar Within (across the road from the church, towards the North Bar) to see our latest display there, which features images of some of the paintings plus photos of some of the artwork in the fabric of St Mary’s which will be highlighted in the exhibition.

A king’s head carved in the 1520s at the top of a pillar on the south side of the nave.

A maid’s head issuant from a bank of clouds, the heraldic emblem of the Mercers’ Company.


Side by side with the physical exhibition in St Mary’s is a digital version on the church’s website. The digital counterpart will include images of the portraits in the exhibition and the full text written by Dr Jennie England, St Mary’s Heritage Learning Officer.

Below is one of the most iconic portraits highlighted in the exhibition. Click on the image to visit the online exhibition:

Queen Elizabeth I c. 1588 © National Portrait Gallery, London

On the road

After the exhibition finishes in church, it will be loaned to schools and community venues in the area for free. It is hoped that this will inspire pupils and teachers alike as they explore the wonderful history and art contained in these portraits. Dr England will also be animating the history through free illustrated talks for schools via video conferencing. Any schools or community venues interested in borrowing the exhibition and/or receiving a talk from Dr England are invited to email St Mary’s education team:


We look forward to welcoming you to St Mary’s this autumn for this exploration of the three Rs of Beverley’s Tudor past: Reform, Rebellion, Restoration.


This entry was posted on October 13, 2020 by in Uncategorized.
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