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The Norfolk Churches Site: an occasional sideways glance at the churches of Norfolk

St Peter, Wiggenhall St Peter

WIggenhall St Peter: a satisfying ruin

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south side, a filled in arcade to a lost aisle from the east north side a solid tower    

    St Peter, Wiggenhall St Peter
postcard: 1920s?   This is a satisfying ruin; apart from the roofs it is pretty well complete, its construction of brick, carstone, flint and ashlar revealing something of the skeleton that is beneath the skin of neighbouring Wiggenhall St Mary. However, there are no longer any aisles here, no clerestory, and the tower imposes, the bold tracery of the bell windows deceptively complete,although most of the wooden beams and floors inside survive. The River Ouse broods placidly just a couple of metres to the west, a high bank holding back its dangerous waters.

A postcard from the early 1920s shows it intact, although the ivy is beginning to creep. When Phil Draper came this way thirty years ago he found the ruin completely overgrown, but today it is a rather more polite place, maintained by the Norfolk Historic Churches Trust, and safe and sound to visit. You enter through the south or north porch into a large space beneath the tower, and on the south side you can see the bones of an arcade, revealing that there was once an aisle.

Inside, much of interest remains; the low seats beneath the Perpendicular windows, sedilia, piscina, two aumbries, the stone outlining of the Priest door in the chancel. Best of all, perhaps, a considerable number of corbels and headstops carved into faces and animals.

The chancel arch survives, as does the arch of the east window, and most of the tracery remains in the nave windows. A landmark on the river, St Peter sits at the end of a long narrow lane with a few houses for company. It must be bleak in winter, but it was a pleasant spot on this bright and breezy day; I sat for a while and watched them bringing in the harvest in the field across the lane.

Simon Knott, September 2005


inside, looking east that massive tower from the inside tower from the chancel
looking west seated window in the north wall of the nave south doorway from beneath the tower Priest door and sedilia in chancel skeleton of an arcade 15th century piscina
arch stop tower arch corbel aumbries in the chancel
Billa Harrod was here looking up into the tower 

Norfolk harvest, 2005

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The Norfolk Churches Site: an occasional sideways glance at the churches of Norfolk