This is a lovely little medieval church on the Suffolk/Norfolk border which has a very peaceful interior.
Before the rape of the monasteries by the Tudors, Herringfleet was governed by nearby St Olave’s Priory.
The round tower is the oldest surviving part of the medieval church. It was begun in 980AD - in Anglo Saxon times. A second section was added to it about a century later – probably at the same time the chancel and the church's south doorway were built. The roof of the nave was re-thatched in the 1890's, although the chancel roof was tiled
The tower was originally used either as a lookout tower, or more likely as somewhere to store armoury.
Norman south doorway >
It is thought the south porch was added in the mid C19 when the church was restored. This restoration defines the class system between masters and peasants in those days. The pews with half doors placed in the chancel were for the wealthy landowners and are quite elaborate with poppy head carvings,
while those set at the back of the nave of the church are very plain and were for the use of the peasants.
< Lamp holder in the nave
The Lord of the manor of Herringfleet at the time and main benefactor for this C19 restoration of the church was John Francis Leathes. There are many memorials in the church to him and other members of the Leathes family.
The East window is made up of stained glass from the late C14 to early C18, and was thought to be imported from Germany, although some of the stained glass in the church probably came from the nearby ruined Priory of St Olaves which was destroyed in Tudor times. The amount of recovered stained glass in the church is very impressive.
There remains a small medieval lancet window in the chancel north wall
Of the two (originally three) remaining bells only the treble bell dating from 1837 is now fit for use.
View from the west gallery- many of the memorials in the church are on the chancel walls
I found some unusual gravestones in the churchyard, one large section contained many members of the Leathes family, all buried in separate graves....this is a particular poignant one >
This is a delightful church to visit and explore, I'll certainly be making a return visit.