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

St Margaret, Garvestone

Garveston: impossible to resist

Read the captions by hovering over the images, and click on them to see them enlarged.
hidden asymmetry aisle Victorian over-crispness

    St Margaret, Garvestone
let's hope the poor beasts can read   We were on our way from Attleborough to Dereham - Tom had collected me from Attleborough station - and we really hadn't meant to stop here. But as we came along the road from Kimberley the sun came out, and St Margaret's proud 14th century tower lifted high above the greening countryside, and it was impossible to resist.

A good looking church, even if the over-crisp Victorian tracery of the east window detracts from the overall effect of a transition from original Decorated to Perpendicular..

St Margaret hides its asymmetry from the road, the 14th century aisle more an extension of the nave than a separate entity, especially without a clerestory. I wondered if there was an arcade inside, but we couldn't go in to look because the church is kept locked.. There are two keyholders, but it was only eight o'clock in the morning, so we decided to head on. We'd have to come back another time. I later learned from Mortlock that there is an arcade. However, as Tom remarked, the church is so tree-surrounded that it will be impossible later in the year to get good shots of the outside, so it was worth stopping. And the graveyard is so lovely that it was worth stopping anyway.

I came back to Garvestone in the Summer of 2007. We found the church locked again, with the same keyholder notice, and the friendly man who turned up turned out to be the Rector. He was very nice, and advised us of how to get into the handful of his other churches (he has thirteen altogether) that are also locked.

It will not surprise you to learn that I could see no reason for this building to be kept locked. It is on a busy road, and is nicely kept, but it contains virtually nothing whatsoever of historical or artistic significance. The only reason for it being kept locked can be the lack of interest of the parishioners. There is a decent late medieval font, perhaps early 16th century, with blank shields set in foliage. The 1890s crucifixion in the east window is virtually identical to that that neighbouring Thuxton, a mile or so off, and was presumably a joint commission. There is some better glass in the west window, some off-the-shelf roundels of the instruments of the passion.

crucifixion King of the Jews Mary Magdalene angels
INRI instruments of the passion instruments of the passion crown of thorns

I wasn't sorry we'd gone in, but it was undoubtedly a disappointment after the pretty graveyard, a place to wander and contemplate. Mrs Katherine Kiddle certainly thought so. On 25th October 2000, the parish donated a bench for her to sit upon, to celebrate her 90th birthday, a lovely gesture. It sits by the path to the north porch, and the brackets contain the digits of the date 2000.

Simon Knott, May 2006, updated July 2007


font looking east chancel

F FIllby Daniel  Dendy cherub 2000 


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