Church of St Mary, Wisbech St Mary's Cambridgeshire

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A hidden wonder with a beautiful arboretum stuck out in the Fenland stick. When driving the often bleak and depressing Fenland roads where life seems to have stopped long ago, you may come across the small village of Wisbech St Mary's. Like all village here, drivers pass through, never stopping.

The village doesn't offer that much, a shop and a few businesses but does offer something rather lovely. The church of St Mary's that sits just off the main road and down a small side road is one of those churches that gets better and better as you wander around.

English churchyards with tall trees and long grass, Cambridgeshire Fens.

From the roadside, the first thing I saw was a large number of old headstones, tombs and those lovely mature tall trees. Being a passionate nature lover, I,m now loving this place.

The south churchyard is awash with headstones in all shapes and sizes; the trees give such a pleasant view and one that makes the church enjoyable to visit.

The west bell tower from the churchyard with tall trees around.

Walking around the to the east window it gets a little tighter with a ditch or dyke as the locals would say that runs the length of the eastern grounds and is lined by trees and bushes. there's another newish churchyard to the east.

Round to the north side the trees get taller, and you get a sense this place is now perfect for nature and why I call churches British new arboretums. The north-west part of the churchyard is so much fun and exciting. There is nowhere locally like it, with endless flat farmland with little in the way of trees and defiantly not like this churchyard

The Church

The chancel windows from the churchyard.

St Mary's is a rubblestone with Barnack ashlar stone-built church, mostly dating from the 24th century with 15th-century chancel and other slight alterations. The elegant west tower is of 4 stages on splayed a plinth and France or diagonal buttresses which are also built in 4 phases. The west window of three trefoil lights with vertical tracery in two-centred arch.

Cambridgeshire and Fenland churches, nave interior of Wisbech St Mary's village church

The look of the stonework is very rustic in look with the north side looking more weathered, maybe due to the tall trees cutting the sunlight out.

Unusual for a church with a bell tower is to see the bell-cote at the east of the nave roof. The top clerestory windows are 15th century in date in three cinquefoil lights with four-centred heads. The light shining through gives a nice warm mood when inside the church.

There is a rather beautiful East window, the 15th century five cinquefoil lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred arch. From inside the chancel you will see the monuments to the fallen in both wars, and what stands out was the number of family members lost in the great war (WW1) it is shocking, I just stood there thinking that war must have taken most of that family and for what.


East stained glass window and altar, Wisbech St Mary Parish Church Cambridgeshire

I had some good luck here due to this church is only unlocked by visiting the keyholder, yet only visit workers were painting the south interior. Sadly with just 15 minutes of viewing as they were about to finish. Well after gossiping with one chap regarding the east window war memorial I set to work.

The first thing I noticed was how beautiful the lighting was, with a warm yellowish hue due to the clerestory windows; it was simply stunning. In between the nave arcade arches are some impressive wooden carved figures.

Battle of the Somme 1916 helmet, Wisbech St Mary Parish Church Cambridgeshire.

Having limited time here I didn't see that much, but something I did see was the helmet worn by a Mr Smith, the helmet saved his life during the battle of the Somme dated 15th of September 1916, this hits home when you stand there and look at something from that time. Humanity at its very worse. St, Mar's is one of those churches that you may pass by without knowing, it stands out in the Fenland sticks and can be easily missed when driving by. But if you do find this church, you may see a churchyard that shows what it may have been like in the area all those years ago; full of trees and nature and the church itself that offers some fine windows and an exciting interor

Church of St Mary, Wisbech St Mary's Cambridgeshire