home I index I latest I glossary I introductions I e-mail I about this site

The Norfolk Churches Site: an occasional sideways glance at the churches of Norfolk

Our Lady and St Margaret, Calthorpe

Calthorpe

Follow these journeys as they happen at Last Of England Twitter.

    Our Lady and St Margaret, Calthorpe

Calthorpe is a pleasing village, its main street running east to west in a purposeful manner in the otherwise rambling north Norfolk lanes which always feel as if they have nowhere in particular to get to, and are in any case in not much of a hurry. The church sits above the street in its walled churchyard, and appears somewhat stark from the outside. This is largely because it was entirely refaced in flint in the 19th Century. As Pevsner points out, Ladbroke's drawing of the 1820s shows no flintwork. But this belies a delightful interior, for you step into a building full of light, with brick floors and old wood. The typical 15th Century East Anglian font with its flanking lions that Sam Mortlock memorably described as well-fed wears a tall, colourful 20th Century font cover, There is almost no coloured glass in the church other than a fragmentary 19th Century head of a saint similar to those nearby at Alby, and morning sunshine floods the chancel with its early 17th Century altar rails through an attractive pre-ecclesiological east window of the 1820s. A fragment of decorative wall-painting has been uncovered beside it.

As at Erpingham up the road with which it has long been a joint parish, the Anglo-Catholic tradition established here by the late Victorians held on and lasted into the present century at Calthorpe. The Rector here for forty years of the 19th Century was Samuel Shepheard. At the time of the 1851 Census of Religious Worship he boldly stated in his return that there are no Dissenters in the Parish. The congregation of fifty-six that day was almost a third of the population, well above average for this part of Norfolk. In his later years, Shepheard was received into the Catholic Church along with his daughters. When he died, the Catholic church at Aylsham was built in his memory.

Calthorpe still has its Lady altar and also a Blessed Sacrament altar with a sweet little curtained tabernacle. An early 20th Century rood group of the Blessed Virgin and St John at the foot of the Crucifixion is set above the chancel arch. When I first came this way about twenty years ago there were still the Big Six candlesticks on the altar, but today things are simpler. The restored dedication of the church was also the work of the Reverend Shepheard, and perhaps his too was a printed notice on the north wall by the door. To Visitors, it is headed, and continues this church is open daily for private devotion, quiet rest or suitable reading, and inspection of the building and its memorials. Calthorpe obviously keeps to this tradition, for even in this time of Covid the church is proudly open every day.

Simon Knott, May 2021

Follow these journeys as they happen at Last Of England Twitter.

   

looking east sanctuary sanctuary
font and font cover looking west blessed sacrament altar
crucified blessed sacrament altar jolly skull
lady altar head of a saint (19th Century) font lions
stations to visitors

   
               
                 

The Churches of East Anglia websites are non-profit-making, in fact they are run at a considerable loss. But if you enjoy using them and find them useful, a small contribution towards the cost of web space, train fares and the like would be most gratefully received. You can donate via either Ko-fi or Paypal.

                   
                     
                         

donate via Kofi

 

home I index I latest I introductions I e-mail I about this site I glossary
Norwich I ruined churches I desktop backgrounds I round tower churches
links I small print I www.simonknott.co.uk I www.suffolkchurches.co.uk

The Norfolk Churches Site: an occasional sideways glance at the churches of Norfolk