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

All Saints, Thornage

Thornage: another pretty little church adrift in a sea of cow parsley

    All Saints, Thornage
from the north-west   from the south-west   Another pretty little church adrift in a sea of cow parsley in the late spring of 2006. Externally, the tower is elegant and there is surviving evidence of the south aisle that was once here in the form of the arcade set in the wall.

Both Pevsner and Mortlock seem to have come to Thornage in something of a bad mood. Neither thought much of the inside. Pevsner's view was that it had been drastically restored, while Mortlock thought the restoration brutal, and the interior bleak. The culprit was AJ Lacey, Diocesan surveyor. His boss was Herbert Green, so it must have been a fairly thin time for the Diocese. In fairness to All Saints, this is a well-kept church, and the nave is full of light, the great arcade bestriding the south wall and picked out in stone.

The late 19th and early 20th century glass is pleasant and restrained; the best of it is two medallions, featuring a Madonna and child, and St Joseph. They look the work of the Kings to me. The modern chairs are a blessing - heavy furnishings would be oppressive here. The sanctuary is really rather lovely, and all in all I though that Mortlock had been uncharacteristically harsh here. Of interest, certainly, is the 1580s tomb chest to William Butt, whose father was something big in the household of Henry VIII. It is similar to a contemporary tomb chest across the county at Waxham.

Arthur Mee was a big fan of the Butts, as he seems to have been of any family which supported that old lecher Henry and his hooligan son. In fact, Sir William senior was chief physician to the King, which must have occasionally placed him in an awkward situation. He seems to have survived it, and Mee notes that he even appears in Holbein's portrait of Henry granting a charter to the barber surgeons.

Sir William Butt would have seen the Elizabethan scriptural wall texts here when they were new. Part of one survives, looking as if it must have been very like the one at nearby Briningham. Perhaps a more interesting relic of Tudor days is the incised ledger stone, now set in a wall, which shows the wife of Sir Clement Heigham kneeling at a prayerdesk.

  windows

Simon Knott, July 2006

   

looking east from the south-east corner looking west sanctuary arcade
Elizabethan moment I Elizabethan moment II Christ in Majesty Madonna and child fine organ case
Madonna and child St Joseph part of Elizabethan text the wife of Hercules Forster


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