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

Congregational Chapel, Oulton

Oulton chapel 1728

Oulton chapel 1728

    Congregational Chapel, Oulton
Here we are in the lost, lonely lanes of North Norfolk. Probably, few people know that Oulton exists, and even fewer that the parish is home to one of the county's oldest congregational chapels, set at some distance from the parish church. Here on a tiny backroad beyond Corpusty, set back from the road and hidden by a screen of trees is a delicious red brick chapel of 1728. The frontage might be that of a farmhouse, but the gables, in the Flemish style fashionable in the late 17th Century suggest that there is more going on here than meets the eye, and also perhaps that is took the fashion a while to die out in this rural, protestant backwater.

The chapel fell into disuse in the 1960s and is now in the care of the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust. The internal furnishings survive more or less in their original form, but the keyholder was out on the occasion of my recent visit. Peter Stephens found it open back in the early years of the 21st Century, and took these photographs.

inside from the gallery 'marriages may be solmenized'
audience pulpit cool green

Of course, as a chapel it was never a consecrated building, and I am told it is now available for hire for weddings, concerts, meetings and the like, which should be enough to ensure its survival. There a handful of headstones in the surrounding burial ground which make interesting reading for an insight into 19th and 20th Century Congregationalism in a remote spot.

   

Simon Knott, December 2017

cross and rails aged 9 months: 'may we be found, no wanderer lost, a family in heaven'

   

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