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St Giles, Norwich
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Richard Phipson was responsible for the considerable restoration here, rebuilding the chancel completely in the style of the rest of the church; the old one had been demolished in the late 16th century. The interior is almost entirely his work, a Victorian church within a medieval shell, and has a similar character to his St Mary le Tower in Ipswich, except for the great blessing that most of the coloured glass in the nave is gone, and St Giles is filled with light.
The Norwich city churches tend to wear their mayoral mace and sword rests like trophies, a reminder of the Mayors provided by the parish over the centuries - St Giles has no less than five sets of them. Another reminder of the civic importance of St Giles is the large number of generally very good memorials to past worthies, especially of the 18th and 19th century - they make a fascinating study in themselves. But this isn't a stuffy, antiquarian place; rather, it has the feel of a living church, and the occasions on which I've visited I've always found it warmly welcoming. For that, and for being so obviously well-used and loved, I like it very much indeed.
Simon Knott, November 2005
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