Church of St. Mary Magdalen
Described as a large scattered Parish of fen and sea reclamation land with ancient Dykes running through and here and there the ancient remains of the salt pans used in the old salt making industry.
St Marys church is a large Norfolk Fen Church with multi style sections said to be Early English in the tower through to Perpendicular in the clerestory and which at one time belonged to Croyland (Crowland) Abbey. In its all ashlar building only the best was good enough.
The Tower, which was restored in 1913, has unusual clasping buttresses. On the ground floor lancets facing west and south. It has been dated to the lower courses and upwards to the original bell openings as being of about 1280 Above this is a Perpendicular stage and then on the top is a rather disappointing section of a stone spire which was never completed as such but has a small lead spike added. Inside the tower the Early English bell openings were exposed on the eastern side as the original roof line came below them. Also below this roof line gable is a round headed archway as a former door opening. There is also a second 14th century ( Tudor?) roof line below the present one
The body of the church is Decorated period except for the Clerestory some of the windows having full flowing tracery ( east window and aisle windows except the last two in the north east and south east.) and some cusped intersecting tracery. The church has a late 14th century two-storeyed south porch and the south doorway with fine mouldings has been partly renewed. There is a 12 close set windowed clerestory each of three lights under flat four cornered arches and on the east gable there is a sanctus bellcote.
Inside the font is a 1664 dated base with a bowl of perpendicular date (much altered by reworking or just of Victorian date. The pulpit is of about 1700 and of panels with cherub heads and the screen is a nice victorian one of about 1870.
The south door is of decorated period with upright buttresses decorated with pellets and ball-flowers with an inscription board with the Latin inscription "Pax Christisit huic domui et omnibus habitantibus in ea in requies nostra". The wicket door has the simple words "in hope" and the smoothed remains of a small early 14th century French ivory crucifixion piece set into it. On the inner side of this door is a lock with strips of bell metal set into it with the inscription "Beware before auyseth Johannes Pette". It has been observed that this inscription is very similar to the 14th century bell at Glapthorne Manor near Oundle.
Some large remaining parts of a Jesse window are in the North aisle East window and many smaller pieces in various other windows.
At the east end of the south aisle is the torso of a latish 13th century knught with crossed legs and the remains of fine drapery. He lies on a large slab which is supported on a large much defaced Perpendicular tomb chest. In the south aisle is also the 5ft figure of brass of a lady with a puppy playing at her feet.(The symbol of fidelity) and dates to about 1400,
There is a large tablet of alabaster with kneeling figures facing one another with columns and fine sprays of foliage.This was erected in 1605 to Adlard Welby and Wife Cassandra. He died in 1570 and she died in 1590.
In the chancel is another tablet with a figure of hope and which is to Mrs illington who died in 1844.
Nearby are other villages of Gedney Dawsmere with a church of 1869 - Christ Church. & Gedney Hill with a church of Holy Trinity originally of 14th century date but much pulled about in the 1870s and added to in 1931. Despite all this it IS well worth a visit as it is of unusual construction and has an East window by Ward & Hughes.
Please also see: Gedney church. The secret of the chancel
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