Sunday, 2 June 2019

St Mary, Winchfield

St Mary's is the beautiful church of the commuter town of Winchfield, and an excellent example of Norman architecture. It is situated on a lane to the south of the present town, on the footpath to the Basingstoke Canal.
Completed around 1150, the church consists of a sturdy, plain west tower, nave and chancel. The north aisle was added in 1849 but the south porch dates from the late 14th to early 15th Century.
The church has three remarkably well preserved Norman archways, exemplars of the Romanesque style. The south door has two orders of wonderful zig-zag decoration resting on capitals of acanthus leaves; the tower arch is plain but the scalloped capitals very fine; most celebrated is the chancel arch, with three orders of decoration, two bands of zig-zag, and an unusual inner order of shallow cusps ending in rolls running the full depth of the arch. This rests on attached columns flanked by yet more zig-zag and two large squints.
All of the chancel windows are Norman in character with wide splays decorated with yet more zig-zag, although the east window is actually a Victorian replica.
Furnishings include a wonderfully carved Jacobean pulpit installed in 1634, and a font with its original Norman basin, decorated with a motif of blind round-headed arcading, on a modern stem.
The church is in a beautifully maintained churchyard, and has a regular Sunday service.
Bagwell Ln, Winchfield RG27 8DB

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