Our Building

Our Building

St Mary’s Church has a picturesque building with many interesting and ancient features …

The Strainer Arch

This feature of the building and similar structures at Finedon and Canterbury and Wells cathedrals are the only examples of this form of architecture known in England.

It is believed that the same architect was responsible for the earlier arch at Finedon which was a necessary support for the walls of the nave which have a tendency to fall together, or lean inwards. From that experience he probably put in the strainer arch to prevent this happening from the relatively slender pillars of the nave having to take the strain of the raised roof.


A General View

Approaching St Mary’s Church from many directions one can get a good view of the tower and spire, 172 feet high, erected at the end of the 14th century.

The crockets were originally built to enable steeple-jacks to carry out repairs in the days before scaffolding. Part of the tower dates from a century earlier, but it was enlarged and strengthened to carry the spire while John Gaunt held Higham castle.

The Pulpit

The pulpit is constructed of oak and dates from the time of Wycliffe. Only 35 of these 14th century pulpits are left in England.

Chancel East Window

Large Perpendicular window of 5 lights with two rows of smaller lights, 10 to a row, containing incomplete or unidentifiable figures, some of which have crowns, sceptres or orbs and may be kings. The uppermost quatrefoil shows the five wounds of the Saviour. The main lower lights are of 19th century work and the allegorical figures are fairly obvious. There runs through the window a ‘vine’ – hence its description as a ‘Jesse’ window