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St Mary, Great Melton
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The population of Great Melton is tiny, and scattered widely over its large parish. In the graveyard there were once two churches, but it is All Saints that is now home to the local Anglican community, while the stark shell of St Mary's tower is all that remains of it.
In fact, until the 1880s, it was this church that was in use, while All Saints was almost derelict. However, when it was decided to restore the fortunes of the parish church, the chosen option was to demolish St Mary and use the materials towards the rebuilding of the much larger All Saints. The 15th century tower that was left is so similar to that of All Saints, which survives from the earlier church there, that they may well have been built at the same time, probably in the 1430s.
Because St Mary is in the graveyard, the parish remain responsible for its upkeep, and this is obviously a drain on their resources that they would rather not have. One of the churchwardens told me that every time there is a storm she prays that it will bring the tower crashing down. It would be nice if there was a means of vesting care of it in some publicly funded body rather than leaving it to suck resources from its neighbour.
Simon Knott, December 2005
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