Cassia Drive Usk Monmouthshire Wales
For over 900 years the Priory Church of St. Mary has has been at the very heart of life in Usk. Built for the glory of God, this beautiful church continues to serve as a living place of worship, prayer and pilgrimage. St. Mary's is a haven of peace and stillness in a fast and busy world. St. Mary's was originally both a priory and parish church, the priory for Benedictine nuns being founded c1160 by Richard 'Strongbow' le Clare. The nuns' church ran east and west of the tower, with transepts (long demolished)north and south. The parish used the westerly part of the nave behind the screen or pulpitum that survives to this day.Entering beneath the vaulted ceiling of the 15th century west porch, visitors are led into the huge space of the north aisle that is linked to the nave by a 13th century arcade. Immediately the eye is drawn to the richly carved screen described by the architectual historian, Arthur Mee as 'A masterpiece of 15th century craftsmanship.' Beyond the screen the ground floor of the tower, with its four massive Norman arches, forms the dignified sanctury.Among the many treasures to be found in St. Mary's is the historic pipe organ, originally built for Llandaff Cathedral in 1861 by the eminent Victorian organ builder, Gray and Davidson. It was moved from Llandaff the Usk in 1900 and is believed to be the most complete Victorian cathedral organ in existance.Today, St. Mary's provides a stately place of worship and meeting to Usk's Anglican community.
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