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Norfolk – 8th August 2012

August 10, 2012

St. Martin’s, Glandford

Glandford

This church sits in an idyllic spot just above the unique Shell Museum and near to the ford over the River Glaven. This church as once a ruin but was restored by Sir Alfred Jodrell as a memorial to his wife, Adela. She died in 1898 so most of what we see dates from after then. It is open every day and the sign outside proudly says so. Inside there is a guidebook, some postcards and a laminated history sheet to look at. There is much to see. Just about the whole interior is covered in wood carvings of a high quality. The lights come on automatically when you walk in, otherwise you might miss seeing some of the detail. 38 people had signed the visitors book in the last month.

St. Martin’s, Glandford interior

This is a splendid church well worth visiting (the Shell Museum is worth a look as well). I rate it as OK, there is much more that could be done here.

St. Nicholas, Blakeney

St. Nicholas, Blakeney

I was fortunate in arriving just as a service was due to start so I was able to join in. Simple, peaceful and very refreshing. This is one of my favourite churches. In part this is because so much thought has gone into making the visitor both very welcome and helping them to understand what this church exists for. The signage is very good, making it plain that here is a church which is open each and every day. There is a dog bowl of water in the porch and a sign which says that well behaved dogs are also welcome in church.There is a good range of guides and gifts on sale inside with some simple children’s guides as well. There is also a ‘What do Christians believe?’ leaflet. Drinks are available for visitors, tea, coffee and squash. There is a votive stand to use and a prayer board with some small cards to take away which say, ‘I lit a candle for you in St. Nicholas’ Church Blakeney’. Very simple and very effective. A range of displays help the visitor to understand who Jesus was through the eyes of classic art.

Pew end at Blakeney

All in all a very good example of what can be done with just a bit of thought. I rate this church as excellent.

The Priory Church of St. Mary and the Holy Cross, Binham

Binham Priory

This was once a great priory but a lot of the buildings lie in ruins. This church gets many visitors and there is a lot of information about it’s history. It is open every day and the signs proclaim this. There are all sorts of momentos to buy here, mugs, pens, cards, tea towels, bags, text cards, guides (including a young visitors guide) and a card model of the Priory to make. I bought one of the latter as I couldn’t resist it! There is a wonderful reflective guide to the Priory which takes the visitor around the church explaining the significance of what it there – very good indeed. This was written by a previous rector and professionally printed via a grant by the heritage lottery fund. There is a children’s area set up with the usual colouring and books but also with some very unusual brass rubbings for them to do. To remind the visitor that this is also a living parish church there is a folder of pictures – ‘A Glimpse into the church community.’ Bike ride leaflets are also there. A prayer tree and votive stand cater for those who wish to pray. Again, I give this an excellent and hold it up as an example of how a historic site can be made interesting and relevant to the visitor.

Binham Priory interior

St. Nicholas, Wells next the Sea

St. Nicholas, Wells next the Sea

A large church beside the main road. On my visit it was full of a display about the Olympics. There was lots of good art work done by children. There was a knowledgable steward o hand to explain the church’s features. There is a guide book and a children’s trail as well as various books for sale. Children have a very good area to use. Displays give details of the history of the church. There is a votive stand to use. An interesting church to visit. I would rate this as good.

St. John the Baptist & St. Mary, Stiffkey

St. John the Baptist, Stiffkey

The signs here are basic. Inside there is a guide book.There is an invitation to add prayers in a book, an open Bible and some village history displays. There is an interesting ‘Prayer Net’ with an invitation to add a ribbon to it. This church is mostly associated with it’s one time Rector, Harold Davidson who was eventually defrocked and ended his life being mauled by a lion in a circus display.

The Revd Harold Davidson’s grave

The guide mentions him and points out where his grave is but more could be made of this incredible story. I do feel that it is worth bringing a church building to life by telling the story of characters associated with it. This makes a worthy place into an interesting one. I would rate this church as OK.

St. Clement, Burnham Overy

St. Clements, Burnham Overy Town

A strange church which is effectively cut it two by the tower. You would note be able to see nor hear a service being taken from the chancel if you were sat in the nave Most odd. There was a friendly cleaner here who pointed out some things of interest. I have mentioned before how important those who do jobs in a church are. The signs outside are very basic – just a printed list of the services in the group. There is a guide book and 1000 Best Churches is on display as St. Clement’s is in it. The chancel is the best bit as it is very light and has some nice modern furniture in it.

Chancel at St. Clement’s

A rather lovely church but the visitor could get a much better welcome so I have to rate it as poor.

St. Mary’s, Burnham Market, Westgate

St. Mary;s, Burnham Market Westgate

This church was open with an art exhibition in it. There were two stewards who weren’t very talkative! Again the signs are very basic – the same as above. There was a sign about the art exhibition. Guide books, post cards and mugs could be purchased as well as yet more used books.

Chancel at Burnham Market

This is a nice clean church, set in a village which gets many visitors. I have to rate it as poor for the visitor though as very little effort has gone into catering for them. 24 people had signed the visitors book in the last month.

All Saints, Burnham Thorpe

Burnham Thorpe

This is the church associated with Nelson as his father was Rector here. They make much of the link and why not. The church is open every day and there was a sign out of the nearby green saying that. Inside I found Nelson booklets, guide books, a sailors version of the 23rd psalm, prayer sheets, mugs, cards, pens, psalm cards and footprints poems. There is a children’s area with books and colouring. I forgot to count the visitors book but it would be quite a number. Several people came in whilst I was there. In the porch there is also lemonade to drink with just a donation being requested. There were some old pictures of the village displayed as well as a display about Nelson.

Lord Nelson bust

Burnham Thorpe interior

Two huge white ensigns hang at the west end of the church. There is a prayer corner with a prayer cross to pin your prayer requests onto. An interesting church which I rate as good.

St.Margaret’s, Burnham Norton

Burnham Norton

This church is open with the same very basic signs as the others! Inside there are prayer cards, guide books and mugs for sale. 35 visitors had signed the book in the last month. One notable feature of this church is that it has two pulpits. One is very old and not used. There is a prayer chapel and a votive stand to use for prayer. I rate this as OK from a visitors point of view.

Wine glass pulpit at Burnham Norton

St. Mary’s, North Creake

North Creake

A large church right beside the road. There appears to be no signs outside but the church is open and all sorts of delights await inside. This is a lovely church, much better on the inside than on the outside. I found chutneys and jams for sale. There is some info on the church to take around. Post cards and normally a guide but this had sold out.

North Creake angel

Font at North Creake

A folder gives details of a graveyard survey. There is an amazing font here and the interior does have a wow factor. I rate it as OK from a visitor point of view but much more could be done.

Our Lady St. Mary, South Creake

Our Lady St. Mary, South Creake

The signs here are basic – not giving much information for the visitor. Inside there is much going on! There are statues everywhere. Various leaflets are available, histories and guides. Children are catered for by a small area with colouring etc. There is prayer book and a votive stand to use. This is an interesting church to visit, although some things are covered because of bats. I happened to meet the new Rector here, Fr Clive and he told me of his wishes to make this church,much more accessible to both visitors and regulars alike.

South Creake interior

There is certainly much potential here to make this a well visited church. 37 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. I rate this church as good but it could be so much better with a bit of thought as there is much to interest the visitor here.

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