St Mary the Virgin Church, Wingham, Kent
Wingham is a quaint little village, as one of the main roads from Thanet out through to Canterbury lies right in the middle of the main nucleus. As a result, you may frequently visit the village briefly as a commuter or inter-county tourist, albeit having only a vague idea of its atmosphere and history. The churchyard is thankfully walled off from the main road, with the trees lining the wall giving the churchyard a bizarrely peaceful feeling as you walk along the pathway towards the magnificent building. In fact, even Wingham’s Grade I Listed 13th-century church itself is rather quaint, as the floor plan has been expanded upon greatly from its original 13th century construction. The fantastic tower and its 63 foot Hertfordshire-style spire, visible across the countryside for at least a mile, dates to the 14th century, with a clock face on the south side.
The nave was rebuilt beginning in the 15th century, and whilst the 14th-century south aisle and porch were retained, the north aisle was removed. A church with an already unique shape is further differentiated from its peers by a confusing and complex history of alterations. The east sections of the building, including the chancel and transeptal chapels, belong to the late 13th century, whilst the transepts proper date to the 14th; the chapel and transept rebuilding process was as a result of Wingham’s St Mary’s College foundation process. All of this confusion is only further complicated by a two-storey 15th-century eastward extension of the north transept, giving the church a wholly unique and utterly fantastic floor plan and shape.