Acle Fishley Hoveton Ingham Neatishead Stalham Sutton

Acle Fishley Hoveton Ingham Neatishead
South Walsham St Lawrence South Walsham St Mary
Stalham Sutton Wroxham

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

St Peter, Neatishead

Truncated St Peter

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Very curious - part of an old tomb, perhaps

    St Peter, Neatishead

This area of Broadland is not touristy at all, but intensely agricultural, which is perhaps surprising given its proximity to Wroxham. But there is a feeling of remoteness. Neatishead is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, a parish with several sprawling settlements. In one of them, Three Hammer Common, you find the church. At first sight this is a relatively insignificant little building set back from the road at the end of a long avenue of pollarded trees. However, the more you look at it the more interesting it gets, for it is in fact the surviving chancel of what was once a vast church, stretching perhaps as far as the road. The tower had come down about a century earlier, and perhaps this is what finally saw off the nave. No traces remain at all of the ruins, but some of the details of the surviving part are fascinating, because it was patched up at the relatively unusual date of 1790. Because of this, it was done with a preaching house rather than a sacramental building in mind, but just look at that western wall! Wholly unfamiliar. The relief that seems to echo the flushwork you find above so many Norfolk west doors is almost certainly the side of a former tombchest. Probably, they did it just because it looked nice.

Inside, a greenish light smothers the dark wood, but it is all done well and obviously looked after. The font survives from the medieval church, although obviously not in its original place, and some of the woodwork also survives from the earlier church, including a 16th century pulpit.

Two points worthy of note - an extremely unusual medieval bench end of what appears to be a griffon holding a bearded head in its beak. The gude wonders if this can signify St Edmund, but I don't think this can be right. I wondered if, rather, it was a reference to St John the Baptist. Also, this church has no less than three separate memorials to young men killed in the First World War. They were all in their mid-twenties.

Simon Knott, September 2004

You can also read: an introduction to some Broadland churches I

   

Looking east The original font The sanctuary Linenfold 16th century pulpit WWI brass memorial
Very curious - St John the Baptist? WWI memorial WWI memorial
The avenue up the middle of where the nave was

an introduction to some Broadland churches I

Acle Fishley Hoveton Ingham Neatishead
South Walsham St Lawrence South Walsham St Mary
Stalham Sutton Wroxham

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