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Redundant church (Norfolk)

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hamishsfriend

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Saved by a local farmer, this small former church building has a long history.

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It was built by the Normans (and has retained its original, elaborately carved doorway), presumably on an older site of worship. It has stood in its isolated location, deep in rural Norfolk, for centuries. Despite many changes, particularly during the Reformation, that resulted in redundancies and ruination of many churches, this one continued to be used as a place of worship until well into the 1900s. Hundred years on, however, it had lost its roof. After having been used as a mortuary chapel for some time, eventually, like so many others, the church was declared as being surplus to requirement, and abandoned.

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In a way, however, it did get lucky in that it was purchased by a member of the local farming community - not to be converted for use as yet another farm building, as frequently happened, but to be preserved in its entirety for what it is. The building has long since been re-roofed to protect the gems it houses: the original medieval font, a full set of 15th century pews decorated with intricate piercings and carvings, and a 17th century double-decker pulpit.

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The building is not in use. It just stands there in this quite remote spot, undisturbed - until somebody like me comes along to take pictures.

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RichardH

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Oh wow, that's a real beauty.

I would hazard a guess that the doorway might be older than Norman, though, unless there used to be rounded pillars from the base of the arch to the floor.

Would also think that the pews were newer than 15th Century? It would be very unusual to have more than a few seats scattered around a small pre-Reformation country church. It wasn't until the Reformation that the idea took hold that congregations were there to be preached at.
 
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hamishsfriend

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I would hazard a guess that the doorway might be older than Norman, though, unless there used to be rounded pillars from the base of the arch to the floor.
Would also think that the pews were newer than 15th Century? It would be very unusual to have more than a few seats scattered around a small pre-Reformation country church. It wasn't until the Reformation that the idea took hold that congregations were there to be preached at.

I have checked my books and found the following:

According to N. Batcock (The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk), the "nave (dates from the) 12th century with fine south portal with scallop capitals and geometric motifs; chancel c 1340; good set of medieval benches; fine 17th century pulpit."

H. M. Cautley (Norfolk Churches) in 1949 says: "This poor little church, rapidly falling to decay ... has several points of interest. The S doorway is Norman and formerly had two engaged shafts and four orders above. Inside are early 16c poppy headed benches ... with most unusual and interesting traceried and pierced backs ... nice Jacobean pulpit."

So - the benches are 16th century, not 15th as I'd said earlier. Thanks for keeping me right. :)
 

RichardH

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So - the benches are 16th century, not 15th as I'd said earlier. Thanks for keeping me right. :)

I have always been told that my special gift is to be the cause of work for other people.

So the door is Norman, then. Just had its round bits nicked. Well, it got off lightly in the grand scheme of things. :)
 

Dirus_Strictus

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I have checked my books
N. Batcock (The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk)
H. M. Cautley (Norfolk Churches) 1949

It is difficult to imagine how different our Rural Counties looked, church wise, until you read books like the above and then compare the scenery today. The Victorians were great writers of books on religious buildings and architecture, and even these books contain numerous references to and illustrations of decaying/abandoned churches, all set in the vastness of an English County landscape. A good illustration of the movement of labour from the land into the ever burgeoning Cities.

The person saving this building for the likes of you and I certainly did not spare the cash when carrying out this 'restoration', that copper clad roof didn't come cheap!
 

hamishsfriend

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It is difficult to imagine how different our Rural Counties looked, church wise, until you read books like the above and then compare the scenery today.

Indeed. Another great historian and writer of the time was Arthur Mee (The King's England - A New Domesday Book of 10,000 Towns and Villages). We are lucky here in Norfolk in that there are about 650 medieval churches, 30-odd alone in Norwich, still standing.
 

kathyms

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norfolk

thank you for posting that. there are so maney deralict churches in norfolk its nice to see one saved. i love the last pic very touching.
 

nelly

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Thats brilliant, religious or not, you have to love an abandoned church
 
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