Church of St Germans, Wiggenhall St Germans

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Church was built between C13 and mid C16. The pew and carvings are a special feature depicting the Deadly Sins and screens from the Life of St Germanus.

Church of St Germans, Wiggenhall St Germans

The dedication of this church to St German, also known as St Germanus or St Germaine, is a typical East Anglian church. There is thought to be some evidence of Norman origins, though the earliest surviving part is the base of the tower that may be as early as the 13th century. The present nave, chancel, north aisle and chapel are largely 14th century, though they received a remodelling in the 15th century. The aisles extend into the chancel, the north aisle has a gabled roof, culminating at the east end in a cross on the top.

The now crumbling red brick Tudor south porch is thought to date to around 1500, and there are traces of a three-storey north vestry that has since been demolished. Inside a number of interesting bench ends survive. The medieval benches form the two central ranges in the nave. Most of those in the aisles are Victorian copies.

On the south side, the upper subject is the Seven Deadly Sins. The sin is depicted on the left hand side, with an angel on the right hand side indicating the sin. Each sin scene is set in the mouth of a big fish representing the jaws of hell. The surviving scenes, from the west, are Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Anger and Pride. Sloth and Envy are destroyed, although one survives as a stump. Pride is damaged, but the others are in wonderful condition. The figures in the niches are Apostles.

On the north side are incomplete parts of several sets. The seated figures are probably the Evangelists. There is also a small selection of carved animals, most of which are quiet, local images of everyday creatures. But most important of all there are the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.

The Sins and the Sacraments were popular subjects in the 14th and 15th centuries, at a time when the Church was trying to reinforce Catholic orthodoxy in the face of local superstitions. The imperative for this had been the rising to prominence of a new middle-class after the old estates had been broken up in the wake of the Black Death. They were most concerned that their souls should be prayed for, especially in the event of a sudden death.

There are two fonts - 19th century stone on a marble pillars, and medieval font in the south aisle. The Jacobean pulpit has its hourglass stand, and a couple of evangelical banners.

Slide to the right to see how it looked in the past!
Site Information
Opening Times:
Dawn till dusk
10 Lynn Rd, King's Lynn, PE34 3EU, Norfolk
Visitor Information
Refreshments (nearby)
Interior features
Nearby Attractions
Attraction 1:
Wiggenhall St Germans
0.08 Miles Away
Wiggenhall St Germans is situated 5 miles south of King’s Lynn and has developed on both east and west sides of the River Great Ouse.
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Attraction 2:
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wiggenhall
0.92 Miles Away
St Mary stands in a watery landscape next to an orchard by the River Ouse. Green stained glass casts light on row upon row of carved benches, featuring lively little wooden saints and figures in amazingly detailed dress. The font cover, too, is a fine piece of carving, dating from the Jacobean period.
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Attraction 3:
Church of St Mary Magdalen, Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen
1.64 Miles Away
The church has a weeping cancel also rare collection of medieval stained glass. There are four paintings from original Rood Screen.
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Attraction 4:
1.65 Miles Away
Magdalen is 8 miles south of King’s Lynn. The village sits beside the west bank of the River Great Ouse.
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Attraction 5:
Watlington Train Station
2.07 Miles Away
Watlington railway station is on the Fen line in the east of England. It is 90 miles 70 chains measured from London Liverpool Street and is situated between Downham Market and King's Lynn stations.
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