Marlow's 'mysterious' heritage laid bare for one day only

Marlow's Masonic Centre

St Peter's church

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A CHANCE to delve into history for one day only will see the doors of series of iconic Marlow buildings thrown open to the public for free next Saturday.

Historic St Peter Street is the location for the annual Heritage Open Days scheme from English Heritage on September 13, which is overseen by experts from the Marlow Society and features three key attractions.

The enigmatic Masonic Centre forms the centrepiece of the tour, with an exhibition on Freemasonry in Marlow as the organisation celebrates 80 years since moving to the former public meeting hall.

Geoff Wood of the Marlow Society said: "All the properties are in St Peter Street, the oldest in Marlow and once the route to the ferry crossing of the Thames before the first bridge was built.

"In addition our Local History Group are putting on self-guided tours to enable you to wander down and appreciate the many fascinating buildings that grace the thoroughfare.

"The [Masonic Centre's] central chamber has a mysterious atmosphere and contains much of interest including regalia and furnishings.

"Please join us to enjoy the architecture, local history and informative exhibitions."

The centre will be open from 10am until 2pm, offering light refreshments and toilet facilities.

Also featuring this year is St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, which will open from 11am to 4pm.

The listed High Gothic church was devised by revered designer A W Pugin in 1844, and inside, a casket containing the purported relic of St James’ Hand will be on show in the chancel.

The nearby listed Pugin Rooms built in the same style will host a photographic display by Michael Eagleton recording the rich heritage of the buildings and an exhibition by the Marlow Remembers WWI Group.

Lastly, guided tours will be available around the garden of the Deanery, next door to the church.

The listed house has been built around the oldest medieval building in Marlow and the stone wall and mullioned window of the Minstrel’s Gallery is on view from the driveway.

There will be a small exhibition in the garden’s summerhouse about the building’s history.

Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy last year's Marlow Heritage Open Day, which gave visitors a chance to snoop round historic buildings in the area around Wethered Road.

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