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All Saints, Toftrees
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The trouble was, of course, that we were lulled into a false sense of security by the succession of open churches. Coming to Toftrees, we had crossed a benefice boundary, from the dozen or so churches of Father Paul Inman which are all kept militantly open every day. Still, All Saints looked delightful across the fields, splendid in its isolation with only the neighbouring farm for company.
It was locked. More than this, there was no keyholder; no notices at all that I could see, and I wondered if All Saints had gone the way of so many churches in this part of Norfolk, and was now disused, earmarked for the headlong rush into abandonment and desolation. We cleared the filth on the window at the west end of the nave, and peered in to see the wonderful font, still in situ.
Actually, I knew that All Saints was still in use - or, at least, that it had been within the last couple of years. John had been inside before, and contributes the photographs he took on that occasion.
As you see from the images, it is a large, square font, with animal heads in the corners and knotwork on the faces. It is set on a collonade of intricate columns. Delightful. Of course, all churches once had Norman fonts, just as most Norfolk churches once had round towers. It is theology, the passing of the ages and of fashion which has replaced them. A fine survival.
Simon Knott, July 2006
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