Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Church of St Matthias, Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe. Norfolk

This small  C11 round towered flint built church is in a remote Norfolk hamlet. It sits in dominance overlooking the marshes, with only a neighbouring farm for company. It’s situation is idyllic, set amidst it’s small pleasant churchyard surrounded by trees.
The nave of the church has a thatched roof. It’s round tower is mostly Saxon, with the upper part added at later dates.
The nave is very small but has a warm cosy feel to it - of course this could be attributed to the heating being on in the church on the day I visited. I was left wondering if it had been left turned on by accident or if some meeting was being held there later in the day…

The C13 late Norman font of purbeck marble is large and square and very plain – nothing here for the late medieval puritans to deface.

The unimposing chancel was rebuilt in red brick in 1836/38, and has a roof of slate,

.,there is a wall monument placed on its north wall to Thomas London who died in 1661 at the age of twenty one. He had once been a resident of Thorpe Hall.

Curiously there’s a ledger stone in the aisle of the nave which has a tiny brass on it, but sadly shows no name. I wonder who lies beneath…..

One thing I found curious in the church is the double arched alcove set into the west wall upon entry into the nave through the South porch door. If this had been in the chancel I would have assumed it was used as a piscina (for washing the Holy Communion vessels) but on reflection as the font stands close by, it was possibly used as an aumbry for holding the Holy oils and Baptism water...I can't recall seeing anything like this placed in a similar position elsewhere.

Rough steps cut into the north wall of the nave can still be seen, they once gave access to the rood loft …. while on the south wall there’s a blocked arch behind where the pulpit stands, this tells us there once used to be an additional chapel here before any reconstruction of the church.

There is a nice welcoming South porch 

..and a small Norman North door which is now blocked. >>

In the churchyard there are quite a few graves that belong to generations of the same family…a long line of history.......

.....and a grave which would have been a deterrent to would-be grave robbers of the C19, >>

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