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All Saints, Keswick
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Keswick Hall had been the home of a less famous branch of the Gurney family, and it is them we have to thank for this church. As so often in Norfolk, the 16th century change from Catholic sacramental worship to Anglican congregational worship meant that Norfolk had far more churches than it could possibly ever need, and All Saints fell into disuse. In 1598, Henry Hobart, on his way to building Blickling Hall, bought the manors of Keswick and Intwood. Installed at handsome Intwood Hall, he rebuilt the church there with materials from Keswick. Then, a full three hundred years later, The Gurney family restored the ruin of All Saints as their mortuary chapel. By the 1920s, perhaps as a result of the post-WWI triumph of Anglicanism, the chapel was refurbished and reintroduced as a church, almost four hundred years after last seeing service as one.
Externally, you can see that this has always been a tiny church. Until the 1890s, the east side of the round tower was a gaping hole looking out onto the shell of the chancel. The Gurneys built their new church against the tower, and it is no more than six metres long. In the 1950s, a rounded apse was added, and the Keswick war memorial reset on the outside of it.
You step into a delightful, tiny space, the hole in the tower filled with red brick to form a new archway. Benches accentuate the fact that the nave is slightly wider than it is long, and above the 1950s apse is a window depicting Hope by the William Morris workshop. In the literature, nobody seems to have a kind word to say about this window, but I thought it was rather good.
Simon Knott, April 2007
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