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St Andrew, Little Cressingham
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Andrew, Little Cressingham
This is not because of any remarkable medieval survivals, or amazing treasures, but simply because it is a special kind of place. Here in the rolling fields between Watton and Swaffham is a ramshackle yet beautiful building that feels as if it has grown organically from the landscape, and is now beginning to make the return journey. On first approach, the most striking feature is that the south side of the tower has completely collapsed. This happened towards the end of the 18th century; the tower stood at the west end of the aisle of what was by then a substantially rebuilt Perpendicular church with an older chancel. Although the tower must have collapsed outwards, the western half of the nave had also become ruinous, probably as a result of the general neglect of medieval church buildings in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the 1780s came a big patching up. A new west wall was built across the nave, reducing the size of the church to two bays and the chancel. The new wall is rather more homely than the old one to the west; the massive outline of the west window shows that this must have been a very grand church indeed.
You enter through the the old tower arch on the northern face of the tower, to find yourself still outside, but on the lawn which used to be the western half of the nave. This is absolutely lovely, the old arcade rising like trees to form a collonade. Then you enter the church properly through the little doorway in the new west wall.
Simon Knott, May 2007
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