home I index I latest I glossary I introductions I e-mail I about this site
the captions by hovering over the images, and click on them to
see them enlarged.
rich green valleys to the south of Norwich are
full of hidden folds and quiet villages which
seem content to hide in them. Shotesham is one,
but in early medieval days it was prosperous
enough to have four manors, each with its own
church. All Saints and St Mary survive to this
day. St Botolph, a mile off, is no more than
lumps and bumps in the ground, but St Martin is a
handsome ruin, covered liberally with elder and
ivy, sitting a hundred yards or so to the south
of St Mary.
Five hundred years ago they
might have looked like twin ships floating in the
green fields, but today St Martin is a green
ghost of its companion, and has been for several
across from St Mary, crossing the sunken road to Stoke
Holy Cross and then up the bank on the other side, but at
first I found the ruin of St Martin inpenetrable. Set on
a mound, a fence guarded the approach which was in any
case blocked by nettles and brambles. However, coming
around to the west end beneath the tower I found a large
sign proclaiming DANGER KEEP OUT. Assuming that such a
sign was only necessary because access was possible here,
I climbed up under the trees and found myself in the
tree-shrouded former graveyard of St Martin.
It was a
simple matter then to step through the former south
doorway into the church itself, which was in any case
pretty clear inside. I assumed that someone with a lawn
mower and a hedge trimmer had also taken it upon
themselves to ignore the sign.
walls to the nave are crumbling, as you'd expect,
but you can still see the outline of the
building. The tower appears substantially sound,
and you can look up its length as if it was a
chimney, clouds and jackdaws wheeling at the top.
A curiosity, which Cautley spotted
in the 1930s and you can still see today, is a
long narrow opening in the south internal wall.
It is a banner stave locker - there is another
across the road in St Mary. These are an oddity;
they seem to have been used for storing
processional banners. The thing is, there are
only about 30 churches which have them and they
are all within 20 miles or so of Lowestoft. It
makes you wonder what other churches did to look
after their banners. Perhaps they had tall wooden
cupboards built especially for the purpose; but,
if so, then none have survived.
Knott, September 2006
Amazon commission helps cover the running costs of this site.
home I index I latest I introductions I e-mail I about
this site I glossary
Norwich I ruined churches I desktop backgrounds I round tower churches
links I small
print I www.simonknott.co.uk I www.suffolkchurches.co.uk