Westwell comes from the Anglian word ‘wella’ meaning a ‘spring’; the prefix ‘west’
distinguishes it from Eastwell. The Domesday Book chronicles Westwell as Welle.
Westwell parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the
Virgin. The Normans built the church in the 13th century, with the south porch added
in the 16th century. There is a record of four bells, in 1552. In 1798, Edward Hasted
described the church as a ‘large handsome building, consisting of three isles, two
small chancels, and a high chancel, having a tall spire steeple shingled, at the
west end of it. The pillars on each side the middle isle are slim and very beautiful,
and between this isle and the chancel they are uncommonly elegant. In the middle
window of the high chancel are good remains of painted glass, being four ovals, in
each a figure sitting, crowned, with a scepter, and the rest filled with a bordure’.
The Victorians added a brick buttress to the south wall of the aisle in 1885.