St Mary’s is one of the very few Saxon church buildings with it’s tall round tower, nave and small chancel with it’s square east end still remaining.. It stands on high ground so is easily seen from a distance.
The C13 South doorway is still in a good state of preservation and there is a wonderful Norman Sculpture above the door, this depicts a seated priest with hands outstretched and with what is possibly a dove overhead…..This to me was the highlight of my visit to the church – such lovely workmanship.....
A C15 porch was built around this church’s south. entrance
clerestory windows >
There remains a double C13 piscina in the south wall of the chancel…this was for the purpose of washing the Holy vessels.
I believe the arch over the chancel to be C14…This church has had many additions and restoration work over the centuries, but a few remnants of early medieval wall paintings are still in evidence >>
One of the church’s most interesting ledger stones lies in the floor of the Nave. It bears the Dutch inscription (translation )“In Memory of Bele daughter of John and wife of Peter the Dykegraft who died 2nd December 1525” …It was about this time that many Dutch drainage experts came across from Holland to the East Coast of Britain to assist in our land reclamation.
There is an early medieval stoup just inside the church by the porch door, for the people to wash their hands on entering the church. (Nowadays in medieval churches one often sees a vase of flowers or even a small statue standing in them)
Fine corbel heads are still in good condition
I suggest for anyone wishing to visit St Mary’s, it may be best to appreciate it fully by going on a bright sunny day, not as I did when rain was falling, as the interior can seem a little gloomy.
On the day I visited the church I found the churchyard verdant and overgrown, but as the church is still in use I imagine someone cuts the grass down occasionally.
While making a way through the tangled wet grass I found an interesting epitaph set into the outside of the South wall of the church, it was to a William Slater who was a coachman in the C18 and who met an untimely death in a coach crash on what used to be the Norwich Turnpike. ...It was uplifting to find a memorial to one of the ‘common’ people.