EXTERIOR

 

The tower is the oldest part of the church and is mainly made of carr and freestone. The base of the tower is 13th century, the top being built early in the 14th century.

The tower houses six BELLS – five cast in 1767 and one in 1841 – all were recast in 1952 and ring a good peal.  They are rung regularly by a team in the village and by visiting groups of bell ringers.

 

The CLOCK commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897) and is still original being hand wound every week by volunteers. 

Much of the church is brick-built  and is part rendered and dates from the 15th Century and built in Perpendicular style architecture, where the intention was to make the church as light as possible, partly so that the wealthy laity (who would have paid for its rebuild) could see to read the religious books which the advent of printing were making more readily available.

The brick south PORCH once had an upper ROOM, accessible from inside the church by a stone spiral staircase – evidence of the parvis floor can be seen; once housing visiting priests and later used as a school room. Over the door are two sets of ARMS in the spandrels of the 15th century on the left are those of the Ingoldisthorp family and on the right are the Howard’s, the family name of the Dukes of Norfolk. Both Family's were the chief contributors to the rebuilding of the church .

 

During the reign of Henry III in 1225 John de Wiggenhale assumed the name Howard.  His descendant William was knighted in 1278 In 1346 Sir John Howard asked King Edward III for a Royal Charter for Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalene to hold a weekly market on a Friday and a Fayre at St Mary Magdalene's tide.

INTERIOR

To the left of the door as you come in can be seen a very old Chest  which had three locks and was leather and iron bound. This is almost certainly a Hanseatic Chest made of pine with a lime wood lid.   It was imported from Gdansk in Poland about 1420

 

Above the tower door hangs the Royal Arms of George III. 1760-1820. It is signed and dated which is unusual and was painted by Parlett in 1787. This was part of the top of the rood screen until the Victorian restoration in the late 1800’s

 

Each side of the door and entrance to the Tower   hang  Four PANELS, painted with symbols of the four Evangelists, surviving from the ROODSCREEN which formally stood across the chancel arch. They are Matthew (man), Mark (lion)

Many of the PEWS are 15th century of the Perpendicular period which are simple oak benches with poppy head ends, at the front of the nave are Victorian BOX-PEWS.

The plain octagonal FONT is probably 14th century.

The windows in the north aisle house one of the great features of this church, which is its medieval stained glass. It is said to have been given around 1470 by Isabel, daughter of Sir Edward de Ingoldisthorp and wife of John Neville, Lord Montacute.

 

The SAINTS depicted are a most unusual selection. It has recently been studied by David King (University of East Anglia) and he has re-identified the representations of saints, correcting some earlier identifications and adding others that were previously unknown. He suggests that the selection of saints is based on those listed in the litanies of the Sarum Breviary. The Sarum Rite was popular in the 15th century and the representation of the saints would have provided a vivid illustration of the litany; providing a focus for the prayers of congregation while it was being sung.

The NAVE ROOF is a fine one. It has arch-braced tie beams and queen posts alternating with short hammer beams with ‘figures’. One is a Bishop wearing a Mitre. The CORBELS supporting the roof have grotesque faces, as do the mounting of the arches of the arcades. The Clerestory Windows are segment headed three light windows helping to bring more light into the church building.

A feature to notice is that the CHANCEL and NAVE do not share a common axis; the chancel is said to “weep” to the north. The reason for this may be that the chancel was not built ‘square’ and that when the nave was added it was built at right angles to the chancel arch.

The PULPIT is Victorian and exhibits some fine oak wood carving, whilst the brass eagle LECTERN dates from 1904, in memory of the Revd. Fredrick Davies.

 

The CHANCEL ROOF is probably Victorian; until 1937 it was covered by a lathe and plaster ceiling. The EAST WINDOW, unlike the others, has intersecting ‘Y’ tracery, characteristic of the early 14th century;  this shows that the chancel was built about 1300 and that the other windows in the nave and aisles and probably much of its walls, are later.

 

The COMMANDMENT BOARDS on the north wall are probably 18th century; they formerly flanked the altar. It is thought that this board was painted about the same time as the George III Coat of Arms Board.  So it could have been the same artist / painter.

The ALTAR TABLE is Stuart (17th Century) and the Panelling along the east wall of the chancel is of the same period.

 

An original medieval ALTER SLAB is set into the floor in front of the Alter Table it is largely covered by a carpet, but has the five consecration crosses, symbolic of the five wounds of Christ, that were anointed with Holy Oil at its consecration. It was taken down about 1560 and used as a paving slab. In the south wall are three SEDILIA. (seats for the priests to use during certain parts of the Mass). A PISCINA (for washing the chalice after Mass) and another AUMBRY.

The Funeral Bier was made in the year 1911 for the Parishes of Wiggenhall of St Peter’s,  St German’s and St Mary the Virgin to mark the Coronation of King George V.