Thursday, 1 February 2018

The church of St Michael, Oulton Broad

This church is an outpost of Suffolk, standing adjacent to the marshes which stretch into Norfolk.
From the outside it is not the prettiest of churches. It is unusual with having it’s tower in the middle of the church between chancel and nave

St Michael’s is usually kept locked, due to local teenagers frequently racing their bicycles around the churchyard paths, and the fear is for damage to the inside of the church to take place if it was left open. We were very fortunate on the day we decided to visit as one of the groundsmen was busy at work, and seeing we were interested in the fabric of the church asked if we would like to take a look inside and produced a key for us.
A feeling of warmth and friendliness greeted us as we entered through the priest’s door into the chancel …not even the grotesque above the door could manage to deter us.

The church is larger inside than it appears from the outside.

Two replica brasses lie in front of the altar, The original brasses were either lost or stolen when St Michaels was restored in 1857. The larger of the two brasses from 1318 is for Adam Bacon and the other one which dates from 1445 is for John Fastolf and his wife.

 Fortunately someone had already taken brass rubbings of the originals and therefore copies were easy to duplicate. I was pleased to see two framed notices nearby which relates the history of these people.

In the chancel is a nice decorated piscina and dropped-sill sedilia.

The oak reredos added in 1951 has painted Decologue panels

 Above the chancel wall hang a quite rare Royal Arms of James ll 
On a table in the nave sits a small set of wooden bells fashioned from the old bell frame of 1540

The rood stair doors are in situ, also a door above the chancel arch which led from the rood loft into the tower
A West gallery was added in the church in 1836
The C15 font is in fine condition 

Unusually the belfry is situated in the middle of the church

The large nave windows are made up of plain glass apart from the small top central pane in each window which contains stained glass
The South entrance door has a plain Norman door arch containing just one single row of chevron moulding 

Outside on the East wall can be seen large carved initials CKF  - whether this is early graffiti or a stone mason’s mark, I don’t know

This church has one of the nicer graveyards, not only is it kept impeccably, but it looks out across a  picturesque view toward  Oulton Broad marshes.

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