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Norfolk 7th August 2012

August 10, 2012

St. Andrews, Letheringsett

St. Andrew’s, Letheringsett

A delightful little church on the main road through the village. It is advertised as being open from 9am. I got there at 9.30 to find it still locked. Not rated.

St. Peter & St. Paul, Cromer

This magnficent church with its high tower is slap bang in the centre of Cromer.It receives many visitors, there were 100 + entries in the visitors book for the last two weeks along. It is well worth a visit. Outside the signage is basic but the door is open and there is a good welcome inside. There is much to see.

Cromer interior

Prayer area at Cromer

For the visitor there is a small bookshop with a good selection of books (children’s as well), there are also prayer cards, cards and church guides, pens etc. Even a children’s guide which is always good to see. An area is set aside for them as well with the usual colouring and books. One thing that impresses here is the prayer area. Here the visitor can light candles, write a prayer on a slip, drop a stone into water (with a meditation to use), use a sand tray (again with explanation) or meditate on some Bible stories. All very well done. I would rate this church as very good.

St. Margaret’s, Felbrigg

St. Margaret’s, Felbrigg

This church is in the extensive grounds of Felbrigg Hall and is unusual in that you have to pay to park here (unless you are a National Trust member). Then there is a walk across a field to the church. Worth doing though. There are lots of monuments to see here. Outside there is a lovely welcome notice on the gate, which has an unusual mechanism to keep it shut and the cattle outside from the churchyard. Inside there is a guide book and some prayer cards for sale, as there are some second hand books. A good selection of leaflets on faith are laid out – Sgm Lifewords and CPO. This really is a lovely peaceful park in a splendid setting. 109 visitors in the book in the last month. I rate this as good.

St. John the Baptist Aylmerton

St. John the Baptist, Aylmerton

Featuring a round tower, this church is open. The signs outside are basic. There are some nice line drawings of the church for sale as well as some cards. There is a laminated guide to walk around with. An interesting poster tells of the wildflowers that grow in the churchyard. Yet more secondhand books for sale – with a few CD’s as well. I rate this church as OK.

Aylmerton interior

There is quite a bit of room for improvement. It just takes a bit of thought.

All Saints, Gresham

All Saints, Gresham

Another round tower church with a good welcome sign outside. Also a good welcome in the porch. It makes you want to step inside. There are prayer and saying cards for sale, post cards, key rings, some local history as well as a church guide and one to the magnificent seven sacrament font.

Seven sacrament font at Gresham

16 visitors had signed the book in the last month. Yet more books for sale! I would rate this church as good +

St. Mary the Virgin, Baconsthorpe

St. Mary’s, Baconsthorpe coyly hiding amongst the trees

This was open. The signage is basic. Inside, there are guides on sale and one on the brasses. Also some postcards. Yet more second hand books – this seems to be a done thing in North Norfolk. Only 6 visitors had signed the book in the last month. There are a lot of bat droppings here – the most I have seen. It is always hard to know how to respond to this. On the one hand, it is good to provide a roosting site for a thriving bat colony, but it does make cleaning up the church a rather thankless and difficult task. I rate this church as OK.

Baconsthorpe interior

All Saints,Hempstead

All Saints, Hempstead

What a lovely little church! The thatched apse looks ancient but was only built in 1925. The signage is very good with a clear welcome. Only 6 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. There is a deanery church trail leaflet, a guide, cards and post cards, as well as jam and chutney to buy. And yet more used books! There is a prayer request box. This church is beautifully cared for and has a wonderful atmosphere.

Interior of Hempstead

Recommended. I rate it as good.

St. Andrew’s, Holt

St. Andrew’s, Holt

Another lovely church tucked away down a lane just off the town centre. The signs are OK. There was a friendly steward on duty who provided me with some guides to walk around with. You can see some modern Stations of the Cross, and there is a leaflet to explain these. The guide booklet is particularly good. There are also some leaflets on baptism and marriage. A children’s area is set up to use. This church is very well cared for. There is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for private prayer. This has modern fittings and is sensitively lit – very nice. I rate this church as good +

Holt

Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Holt

All Saints, High Kelling

All Saints, High Kelling

After all these old buildings here is a much newer one. All Saints is easy to miss. You have to look out for the church notice board on the main road. This is a real gem. Originally it was the chapel for the TB hospital. When this closed the community bought it for £500. It was consecrated in 1955. There is even a bell which as bought on ebay and erected in recent years! It is not a great architectural treasure but is well loved and worth a visit.

Interior at High Kelling

There is a lectionary left open and a guide book. Very simple and very lovely. No visitors had signed the book since 22nd May. I rate it as OK .

All Saints, Upper Sheringham

Upper Sheringham

An imposing church in the centre of this small village. The signs outside give a very clear welcome. Inside I found a ‘What do Christians believe?’leaflet, a guide book and some prayer cards and post cards. 16 people had signed the book in the last month and there is also a children’s visitors book – not often seen. A folder and book was on display about the new village sign and how it was made.

Upper Sheringham

The chancel has been turned into a Blessed Sacrament Chapel with a prayer tree and a votive stand to use. All very nice. I rate this church as good.

St. Peter’s, Sheringham

St. Peter’s, Sheringham

The town was bustling today and St. Peter’s was open. There was also an exhibition called ‘Parables on Parade’. These are drawings which illustrate some of Jesus’ parables. There are reproductions for sale and a booklet. Also a guide book and post cards. There was a steward on duty who made me a cup of tea an offered me cake! Very welcome. A children’s area is set up and 11 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. There is also some children’s art work on display because of a competition. There is a quiet chapel to use and a votive stand.

Sheringham Interior

Also a sign indicated the importance of the chancel step – something I have not seen done before.

Chancel step sign

I rate St. Peter’s as good.

Also at Sheringham, the North Norfolk Railway

All Saints, Weybourne

All Saints, Weybourne

Open, with a very good welcome sign. Inside there is a display on the adjacent ruined priory and a laminated guide sheet to use. The children’s area says ‘You are welcome to use the books and toys, just tidy them away afterwards.’ 49 visitors in the book in the last month. A lot more could be done here as this is an interesting place to visit.

Weybourne

I rate it as OK.

St. Nicholas, Salthouse

Salthouse

A must visit church, partly because of it’s position high up above the salt marshes and distant sea and above the village. Also because of it’s austere and magnificent interior. The signs are OK but could give an indication that the church is open. Only 3 visitors in the book in the last month! – what is going on here!

Salthouse interior

There are local history books on sale, guides, book marks and CD’s of music performed here. The 1000 Best Churches book is open on the page for this church, which gets a well deserved entry. It is often used for exhibitions and there are a few items of contemporary art around to add interest. The Lady Chapel is used for prayer with a prayer tree and a votive stand/ There is a real sense of that tangible silence that speaks of God’s presence here. I rate it as good. Go and have a look!

St. Margaret’s, Cley next the Sea

Cley next the Sea

A huge church that is open for visitors – two women and to dogs when I was there. The signs are OK. There are cards, old photos of Cley, a cook book, a guide and some local history booklets to buy. Even some used books if you so desire.

Cley next the Sea, children’s area

The children’s area is a gazebo in the corner. There are photos of Rectors going back years. Other items of interest are a prayer tree, and outline of the life of this benefice and an unusual Russian crucifix and how it came to be here. 40 visitors had signed the book in the last month. I rate this as good.

Altar at Cley

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4 Comments
  1. Su Summers permalink

    I am so glad you visited our church in Hempstead near Holt, and that you liked it. You are right that it is a very much loved and cared-for building and I’m pleased that this is the impression it gives the visitor. One point, in your write-up you say it is the nave which is thatched whereas it is actually the apse, built to give us a chancel. I’ve been interested in reading about other churches you have visited and am hoping to get a few ideas to improve what we can offer our visitors, who usually come by foot on the many local footpaths rather than by motorbike!! And thank you for leaving the card. I must check whether you also signed the visitor book…
    Churchwarden

    • Su – thank you for this. I have altered it. I do try to be accurate but errors do creep in sometimes. The whole idea is to try to see what is happening for visitors around the country – there is a huge variation. I do like All Saints – it picked it up from the Afrian Pye book ‘A Photgraphic and Historical guide to the Parish Churches on Central Norfolk’ and was keen to visit. It really comes over as a well loved building. And, no, I didn’t sign teh visitors book, just left my little card.
      Nigel

  2. Wigan permalink

    Of course St. Nicholas Salthouse has positively the most amazing space and sense of peace of all of these, but to be fair to St. Margarets in Cley, you seem to have missed the wonderful collection of brasses, and the glorious west windows (probably best viewed from the garden of the adjacent Three Swallows with a contemplative pint in hand…)

    • Yes, but I am not really writing about the architecture of the churches visit. Others have done that far better than I can.My main concern is how visitors are welcomed, even though I do mention things to see sometimes!

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