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

All Saints, Great Melton

Great Melton: unusually massed

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 an institutional building of some kind, or even a factory more conventional from the south

    All Saints, Great Melton
funeral bier sheltering   All Saints is an unusually massed building standing in the same graveyard as the ruin of St Mary, the church it superceded in 1883. All Saints was itself built on the site of a ruin, of which the 15th century tower survives here as part of the new church. The rest is the work of the architect Joseph Pearce, an essay in replicating medieval functions in a fairly utilitarian Victorian manner; a successful combination, I think. Especially when seen from the north-east, the church might be an institutional building of some kind, or a house, or even a factory. From the south, the view is more conventional, and it is also on this side of the graveyard that the ruin of St Mary stands.

The process by which All Saints was reconstructed was also rather unusual. By the middle of the 19th century, the other church, St Mary, was the working church, and All Saints was almost derelict. However, it was also the bigger of the two, and it was decided to restore All Saints by demolishing St Mary and using some of the materials. The congregation then moved across to All Saints, leaving St Mary as a ruin.

Seasoned Norfolk church explorers tell me that this is one of the hardest churches in the county to get inside. The Rector tells me that this is because, in such a widely scattered parish, no regulars live close enough to the building to be in charge of the key. Be that as it may, we are fortunate to have Peter Stephens' photographs of the interior below; apparently, again, it is an unashamedly Victorian worship space, as successful in as out.

You won't need a key to get into the porch, where you will find the only medieval survivals in the form of two medieval benches fixed to the wall and a 14th century stone coffin lid with a foliated cross on it. And you won't miss the funeral bier either, because it is outside sheltering under the yew trees.

Simon Knott, December 2005

  14th century bench and coffin lid
   

interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens
interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens  interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens
interior of Great Melton (c) Peter Stephens

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