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All Saints, Winterton
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Trinity and All Saints, Winterton
Winterton church is a fair size, as long as the tower is tall, but it is the later castellation of the nave and chancel that lends it an air of grandness rather than anything else.Apart from the south porch, what you see is almost entirely Victorian, and the 1870s work of Diocesan architect Herbert Green. A hit and miss architect who was more miss than hit, Green was also responsible for nearby Burgh St Margaret, and you can read about him there. I've said enough.
The porch, though, is well worth a second look. Somewhat eroded by half a millennium of sea air, the arms are still identifiable as those of Sir John Falstoffe of Caister Castle, and if you look closely you can just make out a carved inscription in the stone. He died in 1459, and this probably dates the porch. The sea of graves around the church is also worth exploring. As you'd expect, a number of them are to people drowned at sea, or killed in accidents on boats. One, to two brothers aged 14 and 15, is particularly heartbreaking. How do parents get over anything like that?
Knowing that Green was responsible for the rebuilding, you might not bother, but I was glad we did, because this is a pleasant interior that is still very much in the highest Anglo-catholic tradition.There is still the bleakness of Green's stamp; but in the century and a bit since, the parish have made the building their own by decorating it in a devotional style, but simply, not loudly, as if on a budget, bit by bit. The north side of the church is dedicated to St Nicholas, the sailors' Saint, and there are images of him in a little chapel here, and also on a poignant memorial at the west end of the aisle. It is in Proud and Loving Memory of Clarence Albert Pratt Porter, Rector of this Parish and it records that he gave his life rescuing one of the choirboys from drowning on Winterton beach, July 7th 1932. He was just 47 years old.
The west end of the nave includes the fisherman's corner, because 'everything here has been to sea'. Piled up like this, it has the air of a junkshop in a small French provincial town, which gives it an extra poignancy. Part of the assemblage is a WWI Flanders cross that once marked the grave of Lieutenant A T Green.
It is laughable to think that the three dozen or so people in the regular congregation here could possibly raise this money to have these two relatively unimportant memorials put back on the wall, even if they wanted to. If you are fabulously rich, possibly American, and your ancestors came from Winterton, it might be worth contacting the parish to see if they are yours. Otherwise, these touchstones down the long generations may soon become hard core for road surfacing.
Simon Knott, March 2006, updated July 2006
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