Architecture of St Mary’s in Whittlesey is hidden because planners don’t care
THE steeple of St Mary’s, Whittlesey, is one of the finest examples of church architecture in Britain and certainly the most spectacular building in this region after our two cathedrals.
The tower is tall, slim and gracefully proportioned. The spire is supported by slender, pierced flying buttresses which rise from the base of decorated pinnacles on each corner of the tower.
To put it simply, it is a magnificent work of art.
The roof of the nave is relatively low so it accentuates the beauty of the steeple.
In the late 18th century an act of barbarity was committed when a large and unremarkable house was erected directly between St Mary’s steeple and the market square with its famous buttercross.
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That building later became the Post Office and is now being turned into flats. Whittlesey effectively turned its back on its most precious and prestigious building.
As Market Street developed over the years, St Mary’s became more isolated and hidden from the town centre. The only way to appreciate that steeple is to walk through one of two alleys and stand in the churchyard.
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The barbarism that began with the building of the old post office is now complete. Thanks to the flats being built to within four yards of the church.
The last decent view of this wonderful building has been brutally compromised. A building as astonishing as St Mary’s needs space to be appreciated properly.
Your correspondent, Robert Davis, asks how this could happen. It has happened because our planners and councillors don’t care.
They clearly cannot understand the importance of beauty and harmony in our town centres nor the dulling impact that poor planning can perpetuate for years.
The next time you hear a local politician talking proudly of our wonderful Fenland heritage, have a pinch of salt handy.