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All Saints, North Wootton
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Saints, North Wootton
The style is very much Early English, familar from the nearby Marshland churches, with a grand west door flanked by niches, and lots of blind arcading on the base of the tower. Plate tracery and three narrow lancets in the east complete the picture. The tower has a stair turret in the south-west corner which is capped in the Scottish baronial style, popular in the mid-century.
The font is a rather striking 19th century tub with stylised foliage. All Saints came fully furnished, and although we must expect churches like this to lack great historical or architectural interest, there is still a fine atmosphere inside, a feeling that the mid-Victorians have not long since left. The choir stalls in the chancel are particularly good, their heads presumably those of parishioners - one has wonderful Victorian muttonchop whiskers. The windows have a bit of character from the additions of stained glass during the course of the rest of the century; Pevsner says it is all by Ward & Hughes. Some of it is interesting, most of it rather run of the mill. Perhaps the most interesting figure is the rare St Frances; you can also see her at Kimberley. Finally, there are gorgeous Art Nouveau lamp standards throughout the church, and then that was pretty much it. On this misty autumn day there was a touch of melancholy about it, which suited it rather well.
In recent years, the sanctuary has been simplified, but when we looked under the tower, we found an early 20th century reredos reset there, with sweetly naive paintings of the Annunciation. I have never seen Gabriel look so young. The base of the tower has been filled in to form a kitchen and other facilities, and this has been done very well. Up above, there is a little room, set into the tower, that can be used for meetings. All in all, this is a lovely, welcoming little church, and I'm sure Mr Salvin would be pleased to see that so much of its integrity has survived.
Simon Knott, October 2005
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