Our churches deserve our interest and funding - many people visit March for St Wendreda’s Church, March

St Wendreda's Church, in March.

St Wendreda's Church, in March. - Credit: Archant

English Heritage warns that only 15 per cent of ancient churches are deemed economic to repair.

Your newspaper (October 31) mentioned St Wendreda’s Church, in March, being included on the ‘at risk’ register.

This building has a very unusual history. It dates back to the 13th century.

An important addition was made in 1343-6 and the “chapel” elevated to the honorary status as a place of pilgrimage. The south aisle was built to contain the shrine with its relic of March’s St Wendreda (7th century) brought here from Canterbury. It welcomed pilgrims from an extensive area en route to Walsingham.

At the Dissolution in 1538, the shrine was demolished in accordance with royal decree.


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Pope Clement VI of Avignon, France, granted March’s first notable honour, the Indulgence of 1346 highlighting the importance of St Wendreda’s Church as a place of pilgrimage.

England has few local saints and I have good reason to believe that Wendreda’s relic rests beneath a marked medieval floor slab on the site of the shrine.

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A second Indulgence to the town by Cardinal Wolsey in 1536 in respect of the restoration of St Wendreda’s Church also recognised the installation of the famous angel roof honouring the town’s saint, erected in that year.

We rightly treasure our churches for spiritual reasons and for their fascinating links with craftmen’s skills.

Much geometrical adornment is badly worn at St Wendreda’s. Our churches deserve our interest and funding.

Many tourists visit March to see the “old church”.

TREVOR BEVIS

St Peter’s Road

March

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