Monday, 29 May 2017

Heckingham St Gregory's church

This early medieval thatched roof church is contemporary with it’s more well known neighbour St Margaret’s in Hales.
This plain and a simple church is now redundant and under the care of the Church Conservation Trust…..It is one of the beast examples of a Norman country church in East Anglia. .Set down a narrow secluded stony lane, it could very easily be passed by without anyone noticing it. It stands aloof and proud on a small hillock, above it’s makeshift car parking area.
The tower which began as round was later heightened in an octagonal mode.

 The South side of the church boasts a very fine Norman doorway, It’s beauty is breath-taking!..It has very fine elaborate patterned carvings and the four shafts on either side have decorated capitals…It is quite over powering inside this small C15 porch.

The blocked up Norman door on the North side of the church is extremely plain by comparison.

The nave with it’s steep arch braced roof exudes a feeling of tranquillity,  and this church has one of the few remaining early medieval apsidal chancels. The shape of these chancels went out of fashion quite quickly when the straight sided walled chancels came into favour.

The sturdy square Norman font is supported on a central stem and four corner shafts
                                                               Details of Font >>

We can still see the recess in the SE corner of the nave where stairs to the rood screen used to be.

A charming stained glass window adorns the central East window

I found two interesting ledger stones, to  Mary Crow d.1666 and Mary Crowe d 1659 both daughters of John and Elizabeth Crowe…it was quite usual for parents in those days to name a subsequent child after one that had previously died. (notice the letter *e* has been missed from the surname on one of the stones).  Stones to other members of the Crowe family are in the church.

An old bier dated 1903 is standing at the rear of the church
I was surprised not to find any early wall paintings, I was expecting to see the inner walls similar to the ones in the neighbouring church of St Margaret in Hales. Nevertheless the interior of this church is quite charming

 On the day I visited this lovely church it was disappointing to see the churchyard so massively overgrown, some of it was shoulder high and too difficult to walk round. 

 I do hope someone tends to it soon.

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