Whaplode is an attractive church externally, marred only by the modern lead roof. Only the round-headed clerestory and its long run of “blind” arches, however, reveal the Norman origins of this church, begun in 1125. The tower is sited in a curious position to the north east of the church, perhaps where the land was better able to support its large bulk. Its lowest course has Transitional period blind arcading, but the second and third courses are Early English and the topmost is Decorated.
It is known that there was a Saxon church here originally - fragments remain within the existing building. Whaplode was an important local inland port at a time when the area was badly-drained and was criss-crossed by rivers and streams. By the time the Domesday Book was compiled the church had become under the control of nearby Croyland Abbey, although in later years the Abbey had to pay large sums of money to defend their legal rights to the church and other lands that were coveted by the rapacious barons during the reigns of Kings John and Henry III.
The interior is dominated by the disproportionately massive Norman nave arcades. The walls are 1.5 metres thick, and together these two facts indicate that a much loftier abbey church had been planned by the Croyland monks. There are five bays in the arcade. The easternmost four mark the original extent of the nave, the fifth being added when the west end was extended between 1165 and 1190. The pillars of the original arcade are unusual in that