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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Norfolk

by Peter Kessler, 3 May 2019

North Norfolk Part 1: Churches of Sea Palling to Walcott

St John the Evangelist, Sea Palling within Waxham

The Church of St John the Evangelist, Sea Palling within Waxham sits inside the eastern side of the Church Road circuit which also encompasses Waxham Great Barn and other sixteenth century farm buildings. Now pretty close to the beach due to coastal erosion, the church was built by Thomas Wodehouse, 2nd Baronet of Kimberley, Norfolk, in the late sixteenth century. Inside the church has Victorian floor tiles but the old chancel has long been abandoned (on the left).

St Margaret of Antioch, Sea Palling

The Church of St Margaret of Antioch, Sea Palling, is at the eastern end of Church Road which forms a dog-leg after leaving the junction with The Street. The church is probably Plantagenet in terms of dating (around the thirteenth century). It was ruinous by the time of the Commonwealth, with 1674 patching-up, and is mostly a Victorian restoration. Sea Palling suffered heavily during the 1953 flood, and a plaque inside the church remembers the local dead.

St Andrew, Hempstead

St Andrew's Church, Hempstead, is on the eastern side of Church Lane, about 150m north of Heath Road, but it is also visible from Eccles-on-Sea. A date of construction is not known, but the features place it in the fourteenth century, and no later then 1500. It also contains an impressive rood screen, thanks to the quality of the painting on it. It has been labelled as 'exquisite', and certainly seems to be on a par with Norfolk's best at Barton Turf.

St Mary the Virgin, Happisburgh

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Happisburgh (pronounced haisbro) is to be found on the outer, northern edge of Church Street. A church building is recorded on this site in Domesday Book of 1086. In 1101 William D'Albini gave the church and the lordship of the manor to the priory of Wymondham (later Wymondham Abbey), which he had just founded. After the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 the church passed to the bishop of Norwich.

St Mary the Virgin, Happisburgh

The Norman church was completely rebuilt in the fourteenth century, and only some reused stones in the base of the tower survive. Fourteenth century features include a pair of traceried windows in the chancel and a piscina set into the chancel wall. This building was itself rebuilt in the fifteenth century. It sits close to the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia, dated to 1790. In 1940 bombs struck near the church, blowing out all the windows on the south face.

All Saints, Walcott

All Saints Church, Walcott, is on the eastern side of Coast Road, approximately 150m south of the Rookery Farm Road junction. A church was here prior to the arrival of the Normans, but the Saxon building was replaced in the fourteenth century by the Norman stone version that exists today. The font predates the church by around a century and stands on a Celtic memorial stone, marking out the location as a potential early site of worship.

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