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All Saints, Stibbard
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The church is now back in use, but most unusually has no keyholder notice. This is so unusual in this part of Norfolk that it had to be an oversight; we found the phone number of the PCC secretary on an official notice, and she came over and let us in.
While we waited, we explored the extensive and interesting graveyard. The 1757 memorial to George Copland includes an egg-timer, and, curiously, a corrected spelling mistake. This shows, I suppose, that the family could read.
All Saints has a perky little tower, and the church against it is essentially early 14th century, that is to say almost wholly Decorated. The best feature is the intriguing east window, where intersecting tracery builds to a quatrefoil, as if someone was trying something out and was pleased to find that it worked. The roof of the north aisle has been raised, and rises up to meet the nave roof. This is a symptom of another major event in the history of the building, for in the early 1860s it underwent a restoration by none other than the great William Butterfield.
You step into an interior which is clean and neat, as you'd expect after all the work. The most striking feature is the original rood beam, coloured by Butterfield but now fading pleasantly with age. Butterfield's is the font, a rather startling grey marble affair on a tight collonade. The north aisle was redesginated a memorial chapel after WWI. Curiously, you can see that the raised roof of the aisle means that the clerestory lets into the aisle itself.
Simon Knott, July 2006
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