Ruined medieval churches in Norfolk are not exactly a rarity, but perhaps the surprising thing is just how many of these beautiful and fascinating buildings have survived, intact, into the present (659 in total within the county of Norfolk - the largest concentration in the world!). Ruins are naturally, in part, about what we have lost - and are all the more poignant for that. However, they may also reveal secrets and surprises, and they remind us how fragile the pre-modern built heritage is, and how it is people and communities who breathe life into them, and continue to sustain them. When the opportunity arose, we were therefore compelled to explore the wonderful remains of St Peter, Burlingham.
The fate of this church was decided when its tower collapsed into the nave during the night in 1906. Despite the best efforts of its parishioners, the church was abandoned in 1936 and now, as you can see, stands in a state of considerable dereliction.
Having said that, the nave roof is just about still intact. However, despite the presence of some rather lovely Victorian tiles, the floor has been hacked about and the render of the walls is in a poor state.
Even so, there is the faint remains of a late medieval/early post-Reformation wall painting on the north nave wall (video to follow... Postscript: HERE it is).
We were fascinated by the way the roof had collapsed into the north side chapel. It seemed so incongruous to see the apex of the roof inside the structure and lurching at such an alarming angle. Everywhere, nature was inexorably reclaiming this place.
There is a sadness and poignancy to St Peter's at Burlingham, and I noted how each Ragged Rambler present took time to be alone in this space. It had an effect which is beyond the power of words to convey. Perhaps, though, it should come as no surprise to learn that members of The Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers are in sympathy with romantic ruins.