Fishy tale is told in window art at Upper Sheringham

PUBLISHED: 09:47 14 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:47 14 January 2013

The carved mermaid on one of the 15th century benches at All Saints Church, Upper Sheringham.

The carved mermaid on one of the 15th century benches at All Saints Church, Upper Sheringham.


The 600-year-old legend of a north Norfolk mermaid who climbed the cliffs to escape a raging storm has been captured for posterity in a new stained glass window at Upper Sheringham village hall.

The frieze, which was created by members of a stained glass group run by artist Christopher White, tells the tale of the little mermaid depicted in one of the 15th century carved bench ends at All Saints Church.

According to local legend, the sea spirit was attracted to the church by the sound of the congregation singing and surreptitiously glided through the church doors, sitting on a pew near the door to listen to the service.

Mr White, who has been working with stained glass for nearly 30 years, ran High Kelling post office before giving up full time work to carve a career as an artist and teacher.

He now creates and restores stained glass windows, door panels and garden ornaments at his converted railway carriage studio at High Kelling, also running three classes a week at Upper Sheringham.

With the help of his 30-plus class members, he came up with the idea of creating a locally-themed frieze to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We wanted to show the heritage of the area and the mermaid story seemed an ideal theme,” Mr White said.

The window, which took around 200 hours to complete, was funded by a £200 grant from North Norfolk District Council, with students contributing a further £250-worth of materials.

It also features other sea creatures including a crab and a lobster, as well as the church and a fishing boat.

“Everyone worked very hard and I think the frieze looks amazing,” Mr White said. “The hall committee have said how fabulous it is and how nice it is that is has such local provenance.”

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