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

St Bartholomew, Hanworth

Hanworth: home of the Barclays

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rather stark

    St Bartholomew, Hanworth
a view from the church   Another church, another big house. 18th century Hanworth Hall is not as magnificent as near neighbours Blickling, Felbrigg and Gunton, but it is still one of the biggest and grandest houses in Norfolk. You certainly wouldn't want to be responsible for the heating bills, and I doubt you'd escape the top band for council tax. The church sits east of the house, the deer park in between, and the view across from the church car park is fine enough to attract people to eat their packed lunches there. The church sits curiously above the car park in an overgrown and verdant graveyard.

St Bartholomew's tower was done up in the 15th and 16th centuries to form a 'view' from the house, with a Perpendicular window and those curious Tudor brick turrets, now truncated, which must have looked the very thing from the master bedroom first thing in the morning, the sun rising behind them.

The north side of the nave is a little stark, with a leaning porch and just two Perpendicular windows to let in light, and these both to the east of the porch. You wonder if this might be a gloomy interior. At first sight, the door looks locked with its massive grill - in fact, this is to keep out birds, and ordinarily this church is open to visitors during the day - just pull the grill open and turn the handle.

The inside is surprisingly fresh and crisp, full of light thanks to the aisle, arcade and clerestory on the south side. The clerestory has twice as many windows as there are bays to the arcade, which is odd and attractive. There is lots of evidence of 20th century affection lavished on the church, notable from modern memorials, slightly mawkish Arts and Crafts-style paintings and the 18th century hall pew reset in the south aisle - it looks a little like a cloakroom counter, and you wouldn't be surprised to see someone sitting in it taking coats and handing out tickets.

Above all, this church is evidence of the care taken of it by the Barclay family, soldiers, bankers and Priests, who have ensured its upkeep for several centuries. Among the treasures they have collected here are the jolly painted Father Willis organ, and a medieval mensa stone reset in the altar. Their memorials are all around.

Pre-dating them by centuries is a good example of a small-scale Decorated window in the east of the chancel, a nice contrast with the Perpendicular of the nave.

Simon Knott, September 2005


the view east palin Norman font Barclay memorial
old family pew, resetBarclay memorial Barclay memorial Father Willis organ sanctuary

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