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

St Michael, Ryston

Ryston

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Ryston Ryston Ryston Ryston

    St Michael, Ryston

This severe carstone building sits on an ancient churchyard mound on the edge of the park of Ryston Hall in the suburbs of Downham Market. The views to the south of the church are of open parkland with flocks of sheep drifting slowly across them. The faux-Saxon saddleback tower rises loftily over them, appearing bigger than it actually is. The architect was Walter Lawrie, and it was built in 1858 at the height of the Ecclesiological Movement's enthusiasm for liturgically correct 14th Century gothic, so it must have caused some mild surprise and comment. Perhaps it replaced something similar that was here before. The enthusiastic restoration of the rest of the building was probably later, and in general none of the exterior details can be taken for granted.

Like several churches in the Downham Market area, St Michael does not welcome passing strangers. I have visited several times, and have never seen any mention of a keyholder, or seen any hint of an open door. Perhaps they think all churches in Norfolk are like that, but they're not. However, I am told that the churchwarden is happy to show people around if they contact him first - the details are on the Ely Diocesan website.

If you do get inside, you will see what John Salmon saw and photographed below. There are two early windows by the William Wailes workshop, and a fairly spectacular collection of memorials to the Pratt family, who owned the Hall. The church appears full of light, and very well kept.

welcome to Ryston  
   

Simon Knott, December 2010

The photographs below are (c)2010 John Salmon

window  (c) John Salmon looking west (c) John Salmon window  (c) John Salmon
looking west (c) John Salmon chancel (c) John Salmon looking west (c) John Salmon flags  (c) John Salmon
Pratt memorial (c) John Salmon font and organ (c) John Salmon organ (c) John Salmon font (c) John Salmon candle  (c) John Salmon 
Pratt memorials  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorials  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorials  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorial  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorial  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorial  (c) John Salmon 
Pratt memorials  (c) John Salmon  Pratt memorials  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorial  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorial  (c) John Salmon Pratt memorials  (c) John Salmon


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