Thursday, 23 February 2017

St Andrew's church, Gorleston

This is a large urban church dating from the C13 which I visited toward the end of last year. It has had additions and restorations in C14, C15 and C19  and sits in a huge sprawling churchyard…In the year 1800 all headstones over 35years old were removed by the then incumbent, and the remaining stones were placed about ten feet apart from each other standing like rows of soldiers on parade. .
Walking round the outside of the church the three gabled East chapels look very impressive..these date from the 1872 restoration..  I like the wrought iron gates which protect the south porch doorway, and inside the porch there is a stone coffin lid let into the wall on either side of the church door .

The church interior is a wide open space with eight bay arcades which stretch the length of the church, dividing the nave from the chancel and side chapels.  Up until recent years the nave held bench pew seating, but it was decided to replace this with individual chairs….I can see the convenience of this, but I would have preferred to have seen the original wooden benches which would have complemented the rest of the wood carving in the church
 At one time a carved oak screen stretched across the church dividing the nave from the chancel and side chapels.

Every window in the church contains stained glass – some better quality than others.

A huge Royal Arms of Charles 1st dated 1644 is displayed under the west window of the south chapel

There are many wall plaques and memorial around the church – a few are dedicated to men who were once choir boys here 
My favourite part of this church is the Lady(north)chapel. It has a fine wooden reredos, and attached to it’s north wall is a late C13 Brass for Sir John Bacon. This disappeared at the time the iconoclast  William Dowsing  and his men ransacked the churches of all their imagery – 200 years later the brass was found in a private collection and was returned to it’s rightful place in this church

   In front of the Bacon Brass stands a splendid C14 oak chest which has iron straps 

  Further west along the north wall is a board which shows us a table of C19 church expenses   

 Standing between the Bacon Brass and this board is a glorious Easter sepulchre with a decorated ogee arch…this is now used as the entrance through to the vestry and the new meeting rooms.  

  Also in this Lady chapel is a nice C14 piscina in the south wall near the altar

The small chapel south of the chancel is dedicated to the men who have lost their lives through the misery of war.

On the south side of the altar in the chancel is a Norman altar stone which was unearthed in 1870, this was cleaned and placed here.  

The octagonal seven sacrament font which stands at the west end of the nave is badly defaced – it must have looked magnificent when new

This is a splendid urban church with a thriving congregation

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