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

All Saints, North Wootton

North Wootton

North Wootton

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  All Saints, North Wootton

The northern suburbs of King's Lynn sprawl for several miles, and right at their northern tip is the historic village centre of North Wootton with its elegant parish church. The old church was derelict in Ladbroke's early 19th Century drawing, and in 1850 it was demolished. The new church was erected to the design of Anthony Salvin in an entirely Early English stle at a cost of 2200, a little under half a million in today's money. The church was bankrolled by the Howard family who we have already met in the restoration of neighbouring Castle Rising. Salvin was something of a maverick, and the tower has a stair turret in the south-west corner which is capped in the Scottish baronial style that was popular in the mid-century. The west side of the tower faces the street and its grandeur belies that this is in fact a small church.

There are no aisles or clerestories. You enter through the south porch, and your first sight is the 1850s tub font with stylised foliage typical of the 13th Century, although somewhat unfamiliar in East Anglia. This and most of the interior are also Salvin's work, a church that is all of a piece, fixtures, fittings, furnishings and all. Turning east, the floors are a riot of mosaic tiling, a counterpoint to the inevitable gloom that comes with lancet windows. The glass is later, all by Ward & Hughes I think and dating from the end of the 19th Century and the early years of the 20th Century. The best of it is Christ welcoming the children and Dorcas dispensing charity.

The choir stalls have carved heads, one a grand Victorian gentleman with muttonchop whiskers. A 19th Century patriarch or clergyman, or possibly Salvin himself? The space beneath the tower has been converted discreetly into a meeting room, kitchen and toilet, and here you'll find an early 20th Century reredos that probably came with the glass. The sanctuary has not been diminished by its removal, and all in all this is a lovely, welcoming little church. If he could come back, I'm sure Mr Salvin would be pleased to see that so much of its integrity has survived and is still loved today.

Simon Knott, April 2023

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looking east chancel looking west
font (Anthony Salvin, 1850s) The charity of Dorcas  (detail, Ward & Hughes, c1910) Of such is the Kingdom (detail, Ward & Hughes, c1910)
senior surgeon Victorian gentleman (photographed in 2005)

 
   
               
                 

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