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St Andrew, Kirby Bedon
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Andrew, Kirby Bedon
Pevsner records that Diocesan architect Richard Phipson rebuilt the tower in 1884, and that the church itself is mostly of 1876, the year of the first restoration. This makes it sound rather a dull place, but in fact there is rather more to it than meets the eye, and while the outer walls may well be Phipson's work, the overall feel is of a Norman church elaborated and extended in late medieval times, and then made good by the Victorians - a typical rural Norfolk parish church, in fact.
Kirby Bedon has two fairly spectacular medieval survivals. One is a single pane of medieval glass in a south nave window. It depicts an angel, and I haven't been able to work out for certain what he is doing. But I think he is cutting a manuscript onto vellum, writing with a blade and then filling the cut with ink. Then, in the nave floor are two super shroud brasses, the corpses of William Dussyng and his wife wrapped up in their winding sheets, to remind us of where we are all going in the end.
A well-to-do local family in the late 16th century were the Sheppards, and Richard and Anne Sheppard kneel in quiet content across a prayer desk, as if fully at ease with the Anglican settlement, with no reason to fear the puritan terror that the following century would bring. All in all, there is something peaceful and reflective about the interior of the church, and it seemed a suitable interior for the quiet village outside. I liked it a lot.
Simon Knott, August 2008
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