HISTORY OF ST MARY’S CHURCH, EWELME
A Brief Introduction
St Mary the Virgin, Ewelme is an exceptional Church with a distinguished history. It owes much of its present form to Thomas Chaucer, Governor of Wallingford Castle, five times Speaker of the House of Commons and the son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who lived in Ewelme, and to his daughter Alice, whose third husband was William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. It was their vision to adapt the alterations already made by her father and found a chantry chapel and trust. The Ewelme Trust was set up in 1437 with royal license from Henry VI and exists to this day. As part of the Almshouse Trust, the Duke and Duchess reordered the chapel, which is dedicated to St John, as well as building almshouses and a school. The church is modelled on the church of Wingfield in Suffolk, part of the Duke’s Estates.