St Mary, Worstead
St Mary’s is an impressive church with an equally impressive and towering wooden font cover. Built in the late 14th century from the revenue of the local wool trade, it is mostly Perpendicular in style and boasts three painted rood screens - one large central one plus two either side of the chancel.
At first glance one of the figures on the central screen looks to be that of Christ on the cross. On closer inspection, however, you will see that it is in fact an image of Saint Uncumber, whose name is derived from the Latin for courageous woman, virgo fortis. It is said her father arranged for her to marry a king and that, in order to avoid the union, she took a vow of chastity and prayed that she would be made repulsive to her betrothed. Her prayers were dutifully answered, and as a result she grew a beard which quickly put paid to the marriage. Outraged, her father had her crucified and, ever since, she has been an icon to women with marital problems or those wishing to rid themselves of undesirable suitors.
As well as the 14th century screens, I was also rather enamoured with those of the 19th, which vibrantly portray the Christian virtues at the base of the east tower. Above, the delicate tracery is equally colourful and adorned with patterns of blue, peach, and green.