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St Mary, Gunthorpe
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St Mary was substantially rebuilt in the 1860s by Frederick Preedy. The chancel is all his, and although the tower and transept are old, much of the exterior has been refaced. The view from the north-east is of a hard-faced and anonymous building. And yet, there is something poignant about the remoteness of such a place. The interior is also all Preedy's, and as Preedy's great forte is his glass, the interior is so much better than the exterior, I think. Apart from the east window, which is by William Warrington, all the glass is Preedy's. there is a lot of Preedy glass in north-west Norfolk, and I think this ranks with the best.
And yet, there is still the sense that this is an urban church, inorganic and suited for the triumphant Anglicanism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Typical of this are the four angel musicians set into the marble reredos, dominating the sanctuary. The four Evangelists might have been expected instead, but as Tom observed, we are in Norfolk.
A stone screen in the same style as the reredos separates Preedy's chancel from the nave, and the nave is quite different: a simple, austere space, dominated by the glass in the windows. The font is big and old, 15th century, the four Evangelists seated and alternating with shields.
Simon Knott, September 2007
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