St Mary the Virgin, Marden
- Road Reference: Off A49, Hereford/Leominster, Church Lane
- OS Grid Ref: SO 512 471, HR1 3EN
- Car Parking
- Open daylight hours
- Toilets on site
- Disabled access
The historic church of St Mary the Virgin, Marden is a Grade 1 listed building standing in a peaceful, rural setting on the banks of the River Lugg. Although the earliest part of the building dates back to the 13th century, it has its origins in the 8th century. In AD 794 King Ethelbert of the East Angles travelled to Marden with the intention of marrying the daughter of King Offa. However, as he approached Marden, he was seized, beheaded and his body dumped on the banks of the River Lugg. Tradition tells us that, on the spot where his body lay, a miraculous spring of fresh water appeared. Offa, filled with remorse, petitioned Pope Adrian 1, who advised him to build a place of worship over the place where Ethelbert’s body had been left. Accordingly, a church, enclosing the holy spring (now a well) was built on the site. Although the present building is not the original, the well can still be seen in the vestry today.
The large size and unusual architecture of the present building made it an important church that attracted pilgrims throughout the medieval period. It has been a sacred place for 1200 years.