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Monday, 8 June 2015

Round tower churches et al

 Norfolk has an extraordinary number of ancient and interesting churches. Yesterday we went in search of a few of special interest in West Norfolk.

The oddest was Bircham - a church entirely covered with ivy and surrounded by a thicket hedge. It would be very easy to create a story about a vicar, monk or nun imprisononed in the tower and asleep for a millennium or two.
Of more traditional interest were a couple of round-tower churches.
The church of St Mary the Virgin, Burnham Deepdale, has a magnificent Saxon Tower, joined at some point in time to a stone church. The round towers are made from Flint and puddingstone - an aggregate of small stones and mortar that was not strong enough to support corners. The towers supported bells to call the time for a farming community and also to store valuables - including grain - in time of danger.

The mason left his mark.
There are a number of interesting windows, created from fragments of Tudor glass retrieved from older broken windows.
One, in the porch, has a lovely face of the moon at the top.
This church also has a Norman font with twelve sculptures around the base showing what farmers must do in the twelve months of the year.
There was also a lovely little embroidered lectern frontal.
We had lunch at Brancaster Staithe.
and visited another Saxon round- tower church at Tiddewell.

The walls bore evidence of many changes in windows and roofline. 
We stopped briefly to look at St Mary's South Creake a large church with a wonderful ceiling.
All these churches are in peaceful and very beauthiful rural settings. There are well over 400 extraordinary churches in Norfolk each with features and history worth exploring.
Today, apart from Brancaster, we travelled inland, the countryside was rolling, undulating hills, the roads edged with hedgerows of varying kinds.
It was a really lovely day, concluding with a delicious pasta meal with salad, prepared by Sue and Alf, and a bit of family history research and problem solving.


  1. Is the ivy covered church functional.

    1. No, it isn't. You can't even get close to it easily through the surrounding bushes - there are rabbit holes and burrows. The whole remaining building is covered in ivy.

  2. I love the detail you're giving. My favourite here is the font

  3. The stained glass in those churches is absolutely beautiful! I also love the sheepy on the lectern cloth. You are experiencing some wonderful places and thank you for sharing them with us. I doubt that I will ever get to check the UK off my bucket list but you never know. Might just win tatts one day lol

    1. Thanks Katherine. Who knows what the future holds? Doesn't hurt to dream. The lamb IS lovely.

  4. Love the stonework. I want to be there

    1. :-). It would be good to have you here. Hope all is well.

  5. Write that story!

  6. Puddingstone! So, I've learned something new once again. I like that style of building, now it is nice to have the right name for the material. And, like Katherine, I thought the goldwork was lovely.