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Worstead Saint Mary Church NR28 9RW



Worstead Saint Mary Church, north tower, south porch, nave, north and south aisles, chancel and chancel ailses. This fine church started off in 1379 and finished twenty years later. Except for the vestry which was added in 1450. The tower is 109 feet high and is exceptional for Norfolk in having a salient angle. (Definition of salient angle. : an angle pointing outward specifically: an angle in a fortification (as a bastion) or in a battle line with its apex toward the enemy - opposed to re-entering angle). And has the added beauty of a west window coupled with a west door. there's a good base course and the first stage of tower is flush panelled. Good sound holes, a stone parapet, but top heavy modern pinnacles. An exceptional feature is the use of a pair of flying buttresses on either side, which were probably put on afterwards to take the thrust of the nave roof. the fine 15th century south porch has three canopied and crocketted arches over entrance arch and is flush panelled. Inside it is groined, the central boss depicting the Trinity and the subsidiary ones having the Evangelistic emblems. There is a parvise over. The north porch has a fine crocketted arch with traceried spandrils and a tiny pattern of cusped shields above. Inside the nave has a span of 29 feet and a length of 89 feet with lofty arcades and ten clerestory windows on either side, with a fine hammerbeam and arch-braced roof, but no collar traceried spandrils and arch-braced between wall posts. Godd 15th century octagonal font, with original lofty cover. under the tower is timber framwork supporting a ringing gallery, with a fine screen and on the cornicean inscription."This worke was made in ye yer of God MCCCCCL at ye proper cost of ye cantell of ye chyrche of Worstead callyd ye bachellers lyte ye God preserve with all the benefactors of ye same now and ever, Amen. Then wer husbonds (wardens) Christofyr Kat and Jefrey Dey" The north aisle has an arch-braced roof with traceried spandrils a feature of the aisles are large stone pedestals for images. There is a Sanctus bell window in tower. The chancel screen bears an inscription stating that it was erected in 1511 by john Arblaster and his wife Agnes, and is no less than 17' 9" high. It has a beautiful middle rail inscribed, and the panels look as if they had been re-painted. Worstead Saint Mary Church, has on its panels Man of Sorrows, the Apostles, Saint William etc. The aisle screens are also good with double tracery, i.e. the same pattern but with a space between them, with two old panels on the south side is obviously Saint Peter. The sacristy has a 15th century door and a room above and a Stuart table and remains of Stuart rails. There are box pews throughout. (Cautley)  John Albaster or Alblastyr, who died in 1520. His brass, presumably still covering his burial, is directly in front of the rood screen here, that he and his wife Benedicta gave in 1512. There are small wooden posts sticking out of the south inside wall, these could be either where benches have been taken out to make room along the South side aisles, or the remnants of what could have been a loom left over from the wool industry. One of the finest "wool" churches in Norfolk, A typical and very lofty East Anglian rood-screen, the gift of John Arbaster in 1511. Like Brisley, it is a medley of 15th century woowork worked up into 18th-century seating. Beautiful west tower from which the heavy Victorian pinnacles have been wisely removed, and the lofty font cover has recently gone through a careful restoration. As at Cawston there is an inscription along the front of the tower gallery. "This werke was made in ye yer of God MCCCCCL at ye proper cost of ye benefactors of ye chyrch of Worstead callyd ye bachellers lyte yt God preserve wth all ye benefactors of ye same now and ever. Amen." How wonderful of the bachellers to make this beautiful thing in so uncertain a time in the history of the church as 1550!

Worstead Saint Mary Church, postcode: NR28 9RW