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

St Margaret, Stanfield

Stanfield: Tom in the quiet of this intensely rural churchyard

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north south porch Perpendicular east window

    St Margaret, Stanfield

St Margaret is an utterly rural church with a delightful, rustic atmosphere. As Mortlock observes, this 13th century church has had few alterations. What changes there have been are to the benefit of the building - the range of late Perpendicular windows in the nave, for example. But otherwise we are back in the days before the Black Death, when English art and arcitecture were about to flower.

The church is long and narrow, the tower slightly stark, and you step inside to an interior of soft browns and greys, of the spilling of light across a brick floor, of the skeleton of a Jacobean font cover that looks as if it might have been the work of local hands.

The font cover is positively sophisticated in comparison with the bench ends, which are utterly primitive. At first I thought they were a 17th century attempt to replace vandalised religious images with secular creatures, but they appear to be original late medieval. Perhaps they were carved by someone who had briefly seen such things in another church. The benches face an 18th century triple-decker pulpit that blends seamlessly with them.

The mixture of late Norman, Early English and Perpendicular windows is as lovely from the inside as without. There are remains of an Elizabethan painted text on a wall, the original roodscreen panels still in situ, although overpainted a tarry brown, and the chancel beyond is filled with greenish light from the coloured quarries of the east window. A cool, quiet, pleasant place to be.

Simon Knott, May 2006

   

south doorway sanctuary font and cover primitive bench end primitive bench end
the view east rood screen rood screen: detail Elizabethan text
triple-decker pulpit looking west double piscina and EE windows transitional

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