The Norman Church

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1187-1200

This first Church was a modest one, which perhaps can best be imagined as a sort of cage within the present structure. Standing at the back by the west door, we are at the west wall of the original Church with its tower above our heads. In front on the left is an arcade of rounded Norman arches, and there would have been a matching arcade on the right also.

These extended eastwards to a few feet beyond the present chancel step, where the Church ended in an apse (semi-circular east end). One Norman pillar remains on the right, just inside the present chancel. The side walls of the original Church would have been a few feet beyond the left and right arcades.

The bases of the lost right-hand arcade must still be there under the floor. During excavations in 1987 we found and have preserved Norman foundations at the west end proving that the west tower was originally separated in part from the nave by a heavy arch.

The original west tower is still there in the roof space, broken off, and the pillars that supported it are also visible from outside.

This church can be dated from 1187, though dating and styles are by no means certain at this period, and it would be surprising that the new town of Wisbech left it so long to erect their Church after the building of the Castle. However, Churches were usually built from east to west, and the style of the western (tower) end is closer to that usually identified with the later 12th century, so that a foundation date of the end of the century would seem about right.