St Mary's, Standon
St Mary’s Church, which is listed Grade 1, is situated in Standon High Street, close to the adjoining village of Puckeridge. Originally a Saxon church, and with what is probably its original Saxon font, it was added to in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 12th century it was bequeathed to the Knights of St John. It is a processional church, the nave and chancel forming one long, rising sweep, with steps between nave and chancel, and again between chancel and sanctuary.
The bell tower was added in the 15th century, and later joined to the main part of the church. No two of the six bells are the same age. The oldest was cast in 1630, the most recent in 1907. They were rehung by Eayre and Smith in an eight-bell frame in 1994 and are rung regularly for services and by visiting bands.
There is a fine organ, re-built in 2000 by Saxon Aldred. A new sound system was installed in 2013, and was recently reordered in 2018.
As a church family, we meet together to explore our faith and deepen our understanding of the teachings of Jesus.
The church is regularly used for concerts and recitals enjoyed by many from our local community and further afield.
The Friends of St Mary’s (FOSM), an independent charity, was set up in 2000, and makes grants to the PCC for particular projects for the preservation and restoration of the church building. The extensive churchyard is maintained by another Friends organisation (FOSC), not independent of the church, the work generally being done by members of the church and of the local community.
The magnificent tombs of Sir Ralph Sadleir (1507-1587), his eldest son Thomas and the latter’s wife Gertrude are a part of the rich heritage of St Mary’s. Sir Ralph, described on his memorial as ‘’faithful to the state and beloved of his countrie’’, served three monarchs, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I as courtier, soldier and statesman. The passage of over 400 years has left the memorials sorely in need of cleaning, repair and refurbishment and his return to public notice as a result of the acclaimed Wolf Hall trilogy by Hilary Mantel in which he features prominently has acted as a spur to get the work started. A project team has been formed which, under the auspices of the Church Council and with the support of the Friends of St Mary’s, is rising to the challenge. A detailed conservation report has been obtained, tenders for the work have been submitted and fundraising is well under way.