and St Paul, Mautby
here's a curiosity for you. This round tower has
carstone banding, and this is usually taken as a
sign of very early construction, probably before
the Norman Conquest. The church was probably
contemporary, but the wall that separates the
church from the tower seems to be that of a
bigger church than we see today.
something unusual here happened in the 14th
century, at the time the chancel and an aisle
were built, because inside there is an
extraordinarily tall chancel arch, and within you
can see that the inside of the tower is not
round, but square. Presuming that the tower was
originally round, why was it squared off inside?
Or is that not a safe presumption to make?
I must tell you that I like this church a
great deal. It is the most friendly and welcoming in the
area to the west of Great Yarmouth, and a real pleasure
I have written elsewhere, on the entry for Rollesby, about the
dramatic effects of the 19th century revival in the
Church of England. The great Anglo-catholic wave that
rolled out from Oxford has now receded, but in its wake
it has left elaborately decorated sacramental spaces,
whereas before they were little more than preaching
obviously in this part of Norfolk, this has left
a legacy of late 19th and early 20th century
glass. At Mautby there is more; a colourful rood,
a little tabernacle on the back of the otherwise
bare and undressed altar.
Mautby is a pretty little low church Anglican
shrine, always open to visitors, relatively bare
and seemly, and none the worse for that. But
there are still traces of a dramatic recent past.
In a chancel south window there is an image of St
Thomas of Aquinas - an unlikely Saint to find in
an Anglican church! His companion is St Clare of
Assisi. There is a fine Annunciation, and little
images in a medieval style of St Peter and St
Paul in the east window. All in all, it is
touching and pleasing to behold.
The most famous name associated with Mautby
is Margaret Paston, of the Paston Letters. She
was buried here - or, more accurately, she now lies
buried just outside, for if you look at the south wall
you can see that it is built into an arcade. There was
once an aisle here, where she gave orders to be buried.
The aisle was demolished soon after the Reformation, and
the arcade blocked off.
The sensitive 1884
restoration by the minor architect Arthur Hewitt
pierced it with windows, but left the arcade
itself intact. Reset in its most easterly bay are
the remains of the tomb of a Knight Templar in
mid-13th century dress, as if he had just got
back from the crusades and lain down here.
Finally, there is a memorial to the
victims of a plane crash near here in 1947. It
must have been a traumatic event in such a quiet
Simon Knott, April 2006