St  Mary’s has been at the heart of Bitton village for over a thousand years.   Although most of the present church is Norman, some pre-conquest architecture is still visible. It is possible that there has been a place of worship on this site since Roman times when the Via Julia (now the A431) ran westwards from Bath through the village.  Sections still remain of a huge stone Rood that once dominated the church and St Mary’s still holds a seventeenth century altar cloth given by Col John Seymour, later one of the first Governors of Maryland.

Please use the buttons below to access much more on this rich heritage and story.


St Mary’s Bells date from 1633 and are rung on most Sundays and for special occasions.  Bitton is also famous the world over for its Ellacombe Chimes first installed by its vicar in the 1820s.

The fourteenth century sedilia is in the Chantry Chapel
The fourteenth century sedilia is in the Chantry Chapel

Prebendaries and Vicars of Bitton

Prebendaries & Vicars

St Mary’s was, for much of the last thousand years, a prebendal church. The Prebendary was the lord of the manor and had the right and the duty to appoint the Vicar; they also were the recipient of tithes and rents attached to the church.

A Short History & Description

A Short History & Description

St Mary’s has a long and rich history. The current Norman church sits partly on the foundations of a Saxon church and it is possible that a church has existed on this site since Roman times. This brief history tells its story.

St Mary’s Bells

Our Famous Bells

The church has eight bells.  The three oldest were made in the year 1633.  Find out more about the bells of St Mary’s and their fascinating story.

A Church of Two Millennia

A Church of Two Millennia

It is not known how long a place of worship has existed on this site. Take a journey through two millennia of change in building and church practice.

Church Treasures

Church Treasures

There are many church treasures and fascinating items on view in the church. Some of these have audio descriptions that you can access using a QR code displayed nearby. Sadly, some of our most precious items are not on display because they are too valuable or precious.

Martin Palmer talks about St Mary’s History

Living Stones

From our Archives – See a talk given by church historian, Martin Palmer, in 2008, as part of our Living Stones Appeal in 2008.  Martin shows how much of the history of the church and the changes in religious  practice can be read in the walls and objects in  St Mary’s.


Robert Lucas Pearsall

Robert Pearsall was a composer of a wide variety of music but is most famous for his composition of madrigals or part-songs. He lived in Bitton for part of his life and remained in close contact with this church and its vicar for the rest of his life.