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Monday, 22 September 2014

St Margaret's church, Toft Monks

This country church was built in the late C10 - early C11 and used by an order of the monks of Preaux,  Normandy until the mid C15.
It stands a distance apart from the village, nestling in the Norfolk countryside.

A pretty church with a castellated top to it’s C15 octagonal tower.
In the porch there are four wooden  head corbels, which are probably depictions of  early kings and queens, but sadly they are almost unrecognisable  now and look slightly grotesque.
On entering the light bright interior of the church, I looked up to the roof and noticed carved bosses, including one, which looked like the “green man” ...these can sometimes be seen carved anywhere in a  medieval church, either in stone or wood. They are thought to be a pagan symbol of fertility.
A C15 font stands at the West end of the church, with a cover which I believe comes from the C17.  The font’s decorative work has suffered through the years.


. Behind the font and set high into the West wall is a little door through to the tower..




Unusually there are two Royal Arms hatchments in this church – one for Charles 11 (1661) and the other for George 11 (1745)


Royal Arms of George 11




                  
                               Ancient wall painting >>



Restoration of St Margaret’s was undertaken in the mid C19…It was at this time the C13 chancel was hugely restored.


The chancel is very plain but has a serene quality.


.. It’s pleasant East window is relatively modern, dating from 1950.





There are two brasses of interest in the chancel floor. One is for Edward Howlett d.1607 it has an interesting verse:-
          “As I was, so be yee, As I am yee shall be.
           That I gave, yt I have: that I spent, yt I had.
           Thus I end. All my cost, yt I left,  yt I lost.”
 The other C17 brass is for John Kedgell, which tells us he was a good benefactor of the ‘poore’


          There’s also an impressive memorial to John Bayspool dated 1653 on the chancel North wall.






I love that an adult male was nearly always referred to as  “Gent” on a lot of these old ledgerstones…probably respected in the parish



This simple church has a nice Celtic Cross war memorial standing on the North side of the churchyard.
It would be very easy to twist one’s ankle in this churchyard as it has many rabbit holes, so be aware if you ever pay a visit to this church!

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