Saturday, 30 January 2016

First Ragged Ramble of 2016!

A party of Ragged Ramblers explored some churches in north Norfolk yesterday. We began our day with a rendezvouz in a café in Holt ("who goes there!"). Sufficiently fortified with hot beveridges, off we went in search of some wonderful old places - and we found them! Now, what I'm going to do here is choose a single feature from each church that I found of particular interest. I know this won't be easy, but here goes...

First of the day was St Andrew's, Langham (pictured above). Buffetting by the blustery gusts of the tail-end of some ridiculously named Atlantic weather incident, the cool calm of the church interior came as a welcome relief. 

I was intriguid by this crudely carved graffito etched into the east end of the font, reading 'Alice Nettles 1692'. I wonder who she was and what became of her; who carved this and why? It would be interesting to take a look at the parish register and in search of traces of her presence. 

Next up was St Andrew's, Field Dalling. Peering over a lichen-clad wall at the church in the distance, I had a good feeling about this one. And I was not to be disappointed: a lovely welcoming church, bathed in light. 

The story of a good church is ever-evolving. In 1995 a parishioner, Nick Hammond, was inspired to make this handsome chandolier when he saw the 'original' hanging in Colombra Cathedral, Portugal. The central orbs are made from turned oak whilst the ornate candles are crafted in copper. This is a labour of love; a gift from the heart. By the end of 2006 the piece was completed and during the Carol Service that Christmas, Nick presented the chandolier to the church. Wonderful! 

Feeling invigorated and, increasingly, relaxed, we moved on to our next destination, All Saints, Morston. 

I liked this church VERY much and it hasn't been easy to filter out much that delights and intrigues. However, the eye-catchter for me here are the carved details on the rood screen.

Although defaced, enough survives to get a sense of their former splendour.  I have seen finer carving, but these honest little figures are charming. In particular, I love the feather-legged angel - who needs a face when you've got legs like that eh!

Our next destination was St Nicholas, Blakeney. The 'star' for me here is this fabulous seven-light thirteenth century window, one of only two such survivors in Britain. As you see (above) my fellow Ramblers were equally captivated by this vista. A bit special!

Our last stop of the day was at St Agnes, Cawston. Once again, choosing a single feature to highlight has been very difficult. After all, there is the magnificent ashlar-clad tower, the angel roof, the rood screen with doors still in place, some lovely medieval glass and more besides. However, the thing that grabs me above all others here is this carved niche. I just love the big-headed wodewose (mythical wild man of the woods) and dragon. I want to see both of these push free from their spandrels after all these centuries and scamper off into some sun-dappled glade of lore. This is where these figures belong - in the realm of the imagination. That is where they came from. 

Finally, what with all the beauty, the wonder, the learning and discovery, the laughter, the poignant moments - well, it was simply too much for some of us...

Postscript: my travel companions may have noted an omission here - namely, Winterton. It was the glass what done it!


  1. I have been dead since one helping of plum duff too many in the autumn of 1959 and I continue to enjoy a fulfilling death ever since. Ragged Ramblers, death is no encumberance to a determined antiquarian!

  2. First Ragged Ramble of 2016! A party of Ragged Ramblers explored some churches in north Norfolk yesterday. We began our day with a ...

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