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St Margaret, Felthorpe
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We were cycling down from north Norfolk, aiming for Norwich and the train home. My companion was not a church explorer, so I was careful not to overburden her with too many. Booton had been a success, but when we came out again the rain was crashing down. It had been raining ever since, and we couldn't get any wetter than we were already.
Felthorpe is outer Norwich suburbia really, set around a busy crossroads; but the church is away from all this, down a narrow lane at the bottom of a steep hill. "Ooh, look, there's a church!" I pointed out excitedly, and a little unconvincingly - I was in charge of the Ordnance Survey map, after all. The porch was open, so it was a chance to shelter for a few moments, if nothing more. I knew, as my companion didn't, that we were about to join the madness of the Hellesdon road for the six mile approach into central Norwich. We would need every last ounce of single-mindedness. As my companion got out her book, I wandered around the graveyard. Around the back, it seems to have been extended into a former orchard, which is very attractive. Also of interest are the little spikes on the four corners of the tower.
St Margaret was, as you've probably guessed, locked. The only churches that seem to be open around here are the redundant ones. There were a couple of keyholders listed, but they were a mile or so off back in the main part of the village. And in any case, I resent the assumption that I have a car; I was on a bike, and if I had been on foot it would have been even more of a journey to get the key and then take it back afterwards.
Neither Mortlock nor Pevsner could find a great deal to say about St Margaret, but the discrepancy between the two is interesting. When Mortlock and Pevsner disagree I tend to side with Mortlock, but he places the major restoration and building of the north aisle at the relatively early date of 1846, which would perhaps explain its pre-Ecclesiological features, and the way that the south aisle was built into the nave under a single roof. Pevsner, however, dates the rebuilding at 1878; intuitively, this sounds more likely, but surely they wouldn't have put pinnacles like that on the tower at such a date? Hmm...
Mortlock liked the way there were photographs inside the church of the men on the war memorial, but said that the 19th century glass was a matter of taste - I took this to be a kind way of saying that they weren't up to much, as Mortlock is a kind man who I have come to trust in the matter of 19th century glass, as in so much else.
Simon Knott, October 2005
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