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

St Peter, Carleton St Peter

Carleton St Peter

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St Peter, Carleton St Peter

This area between Norwich, Beccles and Diss has the greatest concentration of medieval churches in northern Europe, and yet some of them still feel lost and remote. Take St Peter - there is no village, there are no houses around. There is no road, so to get to the church you have to walk along a grass path between ploughed fields. Cedars flank the churchyard, probably the work of some 19th century rector with an arboreal enthusiasm.

St Peter is nothing special beyond the fact that it is special in itself. Little details there are, of course: some battered 15th Century bench ends, the whitewashed cast iron royal arms of Victoria, the 19th century organ case painted with angel musicians, the screen with large parts of its 14th century tracery intact, and best of all a sad little 17th Century memorial in the wall to five children of the Sallett family. Ut Orimur Morimur ('we rise up, we die'), it begins, and continues the Funerall Epitaph upon Mr Sallett's Five Children Viz: Sara,Richard, Edmund, Sara, Elizabeth who lay interred in this Holy Place.

Beneath, a verse:

We shine with Saints, we heare the Angells sing
The hymnes of Glory to their Heavenly King
The Lambe we follow in our white attire
And the new Song we sing in Heavens Quire

Fruimur Luce Aeterna ('we enjoy enternal light'), Hallelujah it concludes.

One of the lovely things about St Peter is that it is always open. If this worries youbecause you think that little things might be stolen, then you are too late. It has all been taken, there's nothing left to steal. A notice in the porch details everything that has gone, all that you missed. Everything left is firmly bolted down, and so the little building stays open as an act of witness. I think it is even more than that, for here is a place where generations of pilgrims and strangers have been able to stop for a while, an ancient space in which to rest. A little bit of England that still belongs to everybody.

Simon Knott, November 2020

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font and organ looking east font
the funerall epitaph upon Mr Salletts five children the funerall epitaph upon Mr Salletts five children angels on the organ

40 years as church warden

   
               
                 

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