There was a church on the site of St Mary's since circa 1328, erected by Henry de Gower, Bishop of Saint David's. One Sunday morning, in 1739, the roof of the nave collapsed into the church while the congregation was waiting to enter the building. The whole structure was re-built apart from the tower. 1822 saw the church being lit by gas for the first time with thirty six lamps. The church underwent complete renovation between 1879 and 1882 by Vicar Dr Morgan. In 1896, the church was flattened and rebuilt again under the designs of Arthur Blomfield by Dean Allan Smith, though some parts of the old church survived the re-development. In February 1941 the church was extensively damaged by Bombing during the Blitz. It was not rebuilt until the 1950s.
From the 1890s the Swansea Devil stood on a set of buildings facing the west side of the church, constructed by a disgruntled rival of Blomfield's, angry at the commissioning of Blomfield's designs over his own.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.