St Mary's Priory Church

its records & churchwatch



St Mary's Priory Church is the parish church for the town of Abergavenny and is one of the largest and finest parish churches in Wales. It was originally the church of the Benedictine Priory, established under Hamelin de Balun in 1087. The church is renowned for the Jesse carving and the effigies in wood, alabaster and marble.


Abergavenny Local History Society has held links with St Mary’s Church since soon after the formation of the Society, initially by creating the Churchwatch group to assist the church volunteers with greeting visitors. The Churchwatch group needs more volunteers: please see the Get Involved page.


In 1979 the Society formed the St Mary’s Research Group to research the history of the priory and church.

Our President Ken Key has made the original research notes available to the current Research Group. Members of the group identified and transcribed those parts of the notes which are not readily available from other sources. You may download these notes here: St Mary's Research Documents


A few years ago three of the Research Group transcribed the Abergavenny Parish Vestry Meeting Minute Book, 1711-1804 from scans kindly provided by Gwent Archives. The original document is held by Gwent Archives - D874/92 and the transcription may be downloaded here: Vestry Book


More recently the Research Group has undertaken the transcription of the St Mary’s Parish records, which included translation from the Latin for the earliest records. The data has been put on to Excel files to enable searching by street and occupation (where given) and not just by name and date. You can download those available below (and more will follow).


Book 1: Births/baptisms 1652-77, Marriages 1653-74, Burials 1652-77            


Book 2: Births/baptisms 1677-1707, Marriages 1692-1706, Burials 1678-1719


Book 3: Births/baptisms 1719-68, Marriages 1719-68, Burials 1719-68


Book 4: Births/baptisms 1769-1800, Burials 1769-1800

Book 5: Births/baptisms 1801-12, Burials 1801-12

Marriages Book: 1769-1812


 Priory Church of St Mary