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St Mary, West Winch
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Well, she couldn't have been more helpful. She was actually about to leave for the Sandringham flower show, but she put off her departure to come and let us in. She was very jolly and welcoming, and West Winch should be proud of her. She did mention that she'd been getting rather a lot of calls just recently to come and let people into the church, but I expect she's probably far too nice to suggest to the PCC that, to stem this tide of interruptions, they should open the church during the day, which of course they should.
St Mary is an imposing church of carstone and ashlar. Its west front faces the street, and a rather grand porch hides a sprawling south aisle. The porch is a curiosity, because it is 14th Century and it is hard to see how the aisle can predate it, but it rises above the roofline of the aisle as if a rebuilding of the aisle was an inevitable consequence of the porch being erected. But it never happened. Probably, the aisle is contemporary with the chancel, there were big plans which began with the porch, and then a hundred years or so passed before the tower went up and the nave was rebuilt. The sundial on the porch is dated 1706, with the initials TB and RC. Above it reads Hora Moner, presumably a misinscription for Hora Moneo, 'I advise the hour'.
The porch has another curiosity in store, because the side windows are filled with extraordinary windows of layered glass, one depicting verses from the Book of Proverbs, the other from St Paul's Letter to the Corinthians. They are the work of the Kings Lynn Glass Workshop. I've never seen anything quite like them before.
Simon Knott, July 2016
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