Acle St Edmund – Robin Forrest

Banham St Mary – Ian Hinton

Church Low-side Windows Project

Low side-windows in churches are usually to be found in the south wall of the chancel and they take several forms. Nothing was ever written at the time of their creation about their purpose. Long-winded discussions since 1839 have attempted to explain their symbolic meaning or their practical purpose in the pages of ecclesiastic and archaeological journals, most of which are entirely fanciful.
In Norfolk, 78 churches have a low side window in this survey, of which 7 churches have two such windows. Many were obliterated by Victorian restoration, but others appear to have been re-instated since the lithographs by Ladbrooke of the 1820s.

Two possible purposes seem most likely. The first is ventilation, the second so that the sound the Sanctus Bell, rung at the time of the Elevation of The Host during Mass, could be heard outside the church. The survey was expanded to incorporate Sanctus Bell turrets and tower squints to the Bell-ringing floor as they could perform a similar function.

Current Status

The fieldwork has been completed, much of the analysis has been done, but the church-history write up has been delayed. Contact if you are interested in getting involved.

Image, Low-side window, Southrepps. Nick Stone 2017.