St Mary's Church
The church of St Mary is largely of 14th- and 15th-century origin, although a church has been on this site from much earlier times. The earliest mention of the church is 1190, when the church was given to the monks of St. Albans together with Monks Manor by William de Wallington. In 1218 Honorius III confirmed the assignment of Wallington and Bygrave Churches to the use of the kitchen of the monastery. The porch, tower and North aisle were 15th Century additions.
Inside the church, a 15th-century oak screen separates the north aisle from the chapel. There are some plain old pre-Reformation seats in the nave, and the oak communion table belongs to the early part of the 17th century. In the north window of the chapel are some fragments of 16th-century glass with the arms of Piggot and Prysot. Sir John Prisot was Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Lord of the Manor of Wallington, and died in 1460. Margaret Pigott was his wife. In the chapel is a 15th-century altar tomb panelled alternately with cusped niches containing small figures of saints, and large cinquefoiled panels containing shields bearing the arms of Piggot and Prysot; on the west end one panel contains a shield, and the other a carving of a pelican in her piety. On the covering slab are indents of a man and his wife, four shields and a marginal inscription. In the nave floor is a slab to Richard Blow, who died in 1698. Richard Blow was one of the two tenant farmers of Thomas Bowles III (see the page on 'The Manors of Wallington'), the other being John Pitches, and also had rights to graze sheep on the 500 acres of heath and ley ('sheep walk'). The field at the northern tip of the parish is still known as Blows Pen. In the chapel are the indents of an early 16th-century brass of a man and his wife, with four sons and four daughters, also two shields and a representation of the Trinity, and in the south porch is the indent of a 15th-century brass of a priest or civilian.
The bell tower contains 5 bells, four of which date from 1794.
The organ is a little Scudamore type instrument and dates from the late 19th century; it was designed to look like the 15th Century positive organs as depicted in old paintings.
Much of St Mary’s is built of local clunch or similar limestone which is relatively easy to carve. It contains several examples of graffiti. The two most interesting being a medieval knight with sword and shield and a hobby horse. It is thought these may relate to a now forgotten Mummers play of St George and the Dragon, once performed at Wallington. A third example, depicting an English long bow, can be found on one of the pillars separating the nave and the north aisle and suggests a link with the local Weston giant Jack o’Legs. The knight can be found carved on the north wall in the base of the tower and the hobby horse in the porch to the left of the west window. This and the bow have dated graffiti close by but it is not known if there is any link.
St Mary's Church
Medieval Knight graffiti