CHURCH BUILDING

TO APPRECIATE THIS WONDERFULLY BEAUTIFUL CHURCH

LETS TAKE A TOUR OF THE BUILDING:-

THE SOUTH PORCH: This alone is reputed to be one of the biggest and finest in Norfolk. Above the porch is a room, called a parvise, where the Parish Day School (Curton's Endowed) was held for about a century. There is a door inside the church that leads to the room, but in 1728 a door was installed out in the porch to give direct access to it. It can be seen in the corner. The exterior of the porch is typically Perpendicular in style. The arms at the apex are those of the See of Ely. while those in the middle are of two local inter- married families. Denver and Goddard. In the niches on either side of the parvise room window there were once statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. Only the cross keys of the former and the cross swords of the latter remain, decorating the footstools. The church was originally dedicated to both saints, not just St. Peter, as St, Paul's Cathedral and St. Peter's Westminster Abbey are the only pre-reformation churches dedicated to just one of the pair.

WEST END OF THE NAVE: Entering through the south porch, we go through the old original doors (a newer pair of doors has been added on the outside to protect the old one) into the west end of the church the rear end of the nave. This open area served as the village hall, a gathering and meeting place for the local people. There are many splendours to be seen on our tour, but one of the first objects that we encounter is a large but humble table. It has been used for all manner of purposes and has survived for well over 300 years. The carved western screen separates the west end of the church from the main part of the nave. This screen is an unusual feature and dates from about 1630. It contains doors which be locked when celebrations were taking place in the village hall so that if people became the worse for drink they would not create a mess in the main body of the church.

Stopping by the central screen door and looking down the length of the nave towards the chancel, the full majesty of the building is obvious. The columns and high pointed arches parade away into the distance where its stained glass window towers over the high altar. One feature that many visitors comment upon is brightness of the light in the church, which is the result of so much clear glass and the height of the building.

NORTH AISLE OF THE NAVE: Going through into the north aisle of the nave to the right is the magnificent font. It was erected in 1532 as a memorial to the Rev. John Whetholme, who was rector at the time, but the intricately carved font cover was added in about 1600. Inside on the ceiling of the font cover are gilded rays, symbolising the Holy Spirit. Like the western screen, the nave pews date from around 1600. The pew seats have been extended forward to accommodate the larger modern posterior The window on the north aisle contains fragments of medieval glass.

AT THE CHANCEL ARCH: The raised area at the east end of the nave was, before the chancel was built, the far east end of the original church. It was the sanctuary (literally the sacred place) the part of the church containing the altar and where the service was conducted.

THE CHANCEL: The Chancel is an area of true grandeur. The high altar is is fully fifteen steps higher than the floor of the nave, thanks to the bolt hole under it.

CENTRAL AISLE OF THE NAVE: Turning back towards the chancel the brass chandelier dates from 1701 and is probably Dutch. Each candle hole and candle holder bore a number so that when the chandelier was cleaned each candle holder could be replaced in its own hole.

THE EXTERIOR: Standing back from the church, we can appreciate the full splendour of its exterior. In summer, the massive beech tree, and the smaller neighbouring oak which was planted in 1909 by the then Prince of Wales, can obscure the view of the south side from a distance, but even then there is plenty of room, to examine the architecture. Battlementing was added to the already exterior in 1634. The gargoyles and corbel heads are typical of the quality og carving throughout the church, and some of the corbel heads on the chancel have bodies attached, which is unusual. On the buttress east of the south porch there is a scratch-dial (or Mass-clock), which was used to tell people of the time of the Parish Mass on Sunday.

THE BOLT HOLE: The Bolt Hole is remarkable in many ways. It has a vaulted ceiling with carved bosses, including a sheep's head which tells where some of the money may have come from to build the chancel. There are horse rings in the wall dating from the 18th and 19th centuries when it served as stabling during services.