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St Mary, Sedgeford
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One of the most terrifying things I 'd seen in a long time is the memorial gate. It remembers twenty people who died in a typhoid outbreak in this tiny parish in the mid-19th century. If such a thing happened in a western European village today, it would be headline news around the world.
We stepped inside to a deliciously ramshackle and uneven interior. I do like churches like this, and it was the perfect way to end the day. I'll always remember it. There are low aisles lit by beautiful clear glass, and the south aisle becomes a kind of transept. The square Norman font on its pillars is older than the church, and is built up beautifully on a series of platforms. Tiny as it is, it dominates the east end.
There are very few wall paintings in this part of Norfolk, but St Mary has several, including the remains of a St Christopher high on the south aisle wall. Others seem to be patterns and borders; it is hard to make anything out. Green damp speckles the floors and font delightfully, but as you walk eastwards the building seems to become more civilised, tamed by late 19th and early 20th century glass of the highest quality. The best appears to be by Frederick Preedy, who was also busy at nearby Ingoldisthorpe, and led a restrained and caring restoration here at Sedgeford.
Simon Knott, September 2006
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