home I index I latest I glossary I introductions I e-mail I about this site

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

St Nicholas, Shereford

Shereford: delightful

Read the captions by hovering over the images, and click on them to see them enlarged.
south side Norman becoming EE slightly dumpy tell-tale piscina war memorial

    St Nicholas, Shereford

Here we have a delightful, slightly dumpy, round tower set against a pretty church that is almost a gallery of windows of different periods. And St Nicholas is so remote! Here, off this winding lane in the valleys to the south of Fakenham, something happened to me that has never happened before, and cannot happen to anyone very often. As I stood in the graveyard, looking around at the verdant spring growth, I noticed the last, the very last of the snowdrops. They had been so late everywhere this year, but it seemed extraordinary that this little clump could have survived into the middle of April. And as I stood there looking at them, I heard the cuckoo, off in the trees over towards Dunton, the first cuckoo of the year. To hear a cuckoo and see snowdrops at the same time seemed unlikely; I lifted my face to the warm sun, and it felt good to be alive.

I wandered around. The north wall has shadows of arches in it, that lead you to suspect something that will be confirmed inside. The south doorway of the nave is full of self-importance, and rightly so: it is Norman just becoming Early English. The narrow wooden porch protecting it is rather odd, I think, although not unpleasant. You step into a long building full of light, and the first thing that strikes you is the arcade set in the north wall. There was once an aisle here, and more evidence of it is in the form of a piscina, now set outside on the north wall.

The windows on the south side are large and deep-set, and the thick wall is obviously the original Norman church. The chancel has, I think, been rebuilt, and has been refurbished and reordered very recently. Pleasingly, there are brick floors throughout, and although the new bricks up here look a little stark, they will mellow with age. I really think the parish should be proud of itself for doing this. The overall impression is of a quietly spiritual place, at once timeless and very Anglican. The only slightly jarring note is the kitschy statue of the church's patron Saint, which I thought was a bit creepy. The children in particular reminded me of those fibreglass collecting boxes for Barnados and the Spastic Society that used to stand outside supermarkets when I was a child. But that is a small point.

St Nicholas is not the most important church in Norfolk, either historically or architecturally, but it feels special; or, at least, it did to me.

Simon Knott, May 2006

   

looking east Norman font I Norman font II south door ghost of the arcade I
tower arch slightly creepy St Nicholas Barnardo boy windows, south side windows, south side
looking west ghost of the arcade II

Free Guestbook from Bravenet 

home I index I latest I glossary I introductions I e-mail I about this site

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