< Karin's Norfolk Churches – Mamie Martin Fund

Karin’s Norfolk Churches

as part of Mamie Martin Fund’s #Birthday30 challenge

Karin has visited and photographed 30 churches in Norfolk, England. She explains her choice: “There are a great number of very old churches in this area. To visit more than one’s own church, opens one’s eyes to others who are also worshiping … a value embodied in the work of Mamie Martin and her husband.”

Well done Karin! You were the first to complete 30.

Click here for Karin’s fundraising page.

02 This church in Thorpe Market is built in the ‘Strawberry Hill’ Gothic style.

03 This Cockthorpe church is still used or worship on occasion but mostly not.

04 Shereford church is a unique round tower church from the 11th century

05 St Peter’s Church, Melton Constable. One can get a key for the church from a nearby monor house farm, which added to the interest of the visit.

06 St Mary’s in Kelling have a big problem with damp. so much so that they leave windows and doors open. The church council has covered their biggest wall, which has a damp problem, by an ingenious murial depicting its view to the sea, and the birds dear to St Francis of Assisi.

07 Happisburgh is a village which is slowly falling into the sea. It’s beautiful church is on a hill and safe for now, but will probably succumb to this destiny too.

08 St Mary, Burgh Parva, Melton Constable. Melton Constable had a church in the time of wool being the biggest agricultural earner which declined into ruins when this type of farming declined in the area.  Then the railway came, and the town became a major railway junction. With the influx of railway workers,  suddenly a church was needed quickly. So one was built from corrugated iron, now painted green. These types of churches are called ‘tin tabernacles’.

09 Winterton is a church close to the coast. The theme inside is maritime, right down to the kneeling cushion. The very tall tower was used for assisting seafarers at sea, by way of beacons (fires lit on the top of the tower before lighthouses).

10 St Andrews in Brinton still has its original key and font preserved. The font is built into the wall below the framed key.

11 St Martin’s, Glandford. This church was already in ruins by the 18th Century. Sir Alfred Jodrel, of nearby Bayfield Hall, had it renovated between 1889 and 1896, using material from the old building to create a mediaeval replica. The ceiling is decorated with large, carved angels.

12 St Mary’s, Roulhton. Another round tower church. The fonts are always at the back of the church. The lid of this font is lifted by a pulley system.

13 St Margaret’s, Sea Palling is situated within farmlands, with sheep grazing right up to the north wall. It is largely unused, but not abandoned. At the eastern end, the bricked-in wall gives a hint of previous glory. The structure hidden by ivy is the ruins of the nave, aisles and chancel. This was one of the few churches that were locked.

14 St Withburga, on the Holkham Estate, it is built on an ancient Saxon burial mound. The present building was elaborately renovated in the 1860’s but undoubtedly there was a Saxon church there before, on the pagan burial mound.

15 St Andrew’s, Thurning. A church that has the simplicity, the ruins, the natural light, the charm, that makes it the happiest church I’ve visited to date.

16 Christ Church, Fulmodeston. Unique building material application – Flintstones outside, brick inside. Building new churches in Norfolk in the late 1800s was an exceptionally rare event; it is also rare to know the exact date and costs. This church was built from materials from older sites that had collapsed in the area.

17 St Mary the Virgin, South Creak. The ceiling has the grandest host of angels I’ve seen. The rood screen is also still intact, albeit modified to move with the times. This was a screen to separate the ‘common people’ from clerical activity at the altar.

18 Parish Church Cromer. A notice on the organ invites visiting organists to play … a rare privilege.

19 All Saints’, Warham. It lost its tower, but has a beautiful focal point inside, of an alabaster carving of the last supper.

20 St Peter’s Church, Guestwick. An archaeological investigation in 1982-83 established that the tower of this church has a decorative stone strip, visible from the outside, which was part of the Saxon chancel arch. This is unique to this church and of special archaeological interest, due to the fact that the tower alone dates back to the 11th century, all the rest of the church has been added on as portions collapsed. The tower also has conglomerate stone scattered through the masonry of its lower parts. The one glass window is a very new addition to this unique church.

21 Creake Abbey. St Mary of the Meadows. A shadow of it’s former glory, these ruins are a very powerful testimony of determination and perseverance in the face of eventual inevitable defeat. The aura of the importance of these 13th century buildings is tangible in the air as I moved through the ruins. A fire in the building and eventual total annihilation of the group of monks who had dedicated their lives to service here, by the black plague, was not able to destroy this dedicated site.

22 All Saint’s Church, Briston. It is situated in the middle of the village. A metal cello was made by the blacksmith of the village, 300years ago. He played it in church. This cello is in a glass case exhibited in the church.

23 Norwich Cathedral. The only cathedral with a bishop’s throne. It is a treasure trove of old, modern, and everything in between.

24 St Margaret’s, on Bayfield Estate. These ruins are still a consecrated church and used occasionally for services and marriages. It is of Saxon origin. It was the parish church to Bayfield Village which is long lost … to the unknowns of history

25 St Andrew‘s, Little Snoring. Of the 650 medieval churches in Norfolk, 124 have round towers. This is one of the round tower churches which indicates that it’s one of the older churches in the area. This tower is however detached from the church. It has a quaint conical cap. The arch and doorway on the tower suggests that it was part of a different church … but what became of that church? No-one knows.

26 St Mary’s, Great Snoring. This church is still in the middle of the village, yet a pheasant hen had her nest by a gravestone, near the footpath. A great deal of the church has been plastered neatly, and, as it is still used well, therefore maintenance is simpler.

27 All Saints, East Barsham. What remains of the tower of this church is a mere stump, with a roof on it. Considering that the church is in a rural setting, with sheep grazing right to the door (a fence has to be opened AND CLOSED when one enters the church), it us elaborately decorated inside.

28 St Mary’s, Syderstone. Another round tower church; still very well used and people friendly with heaters, warm and comfortable seating.

29 All Saint’s, Fring. This church was built in 1330 and it’s tower added in 1350. This kind of clear detail was refreshing. It is situated 300m from the pre Roman Peddar’s Way, and has an ancient St Christopher ( the patron Saint of travelors) painting on the inner wall, looking down at you as you enter …very faded, and missing some of his features.

30 St Andrew‘s, Eaton, UEA (University East Anglia) just outside Norwich. As the church needed to expand, with growing numbers, a modern wing, with some characteristics of the old, was added. Fascinating.