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.

1. St Mary, Worstead
2. St Mary, Worstead
3. Screen painting
4. Tile detail
6. St Mary, Worstead
6. Tile detail
7. St Mary, Worstead
8. St Mary, Worstead
9. St Mary, Worstead
10. Rood screen detail
11. Rood screen detail
12. Rood screen detail
13. St Mary, Worstead
14. St Mary, Worstead
15. St Mary, Worstead
16. 19th century screen
17. 19th century screen
18. 19th century screen
19. Font cover
20. St Mary, Worstead
21. Font cover
22. Rood screen detail
23. Font cover
24. Rood screen detail
25. St Mary, Worstead
26. Rood screen painting
27. St Mary, Worstead
28. Rood screen painting
29. St Mary, Worstead
30. Rood screen painting
31. 19th century screen detail
32. St Mary, Worstead
33. Tile detail
34. Rood screeen detail
35. St Mary, Worstead
36. St Mary, Worstead
37. St Mary, Worstead
38. St Mary, Worstead
39. St Mary, Worstead