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

Assumption, West Barsham

West Barsham: crisp from the oven

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bowling green of a graveyard locked door Saxon windows?

  Assumption, West Barsham

It was with some surprise that I came to the Assumption, because unlike virtually every other church for miles around, it is set in a trim bowling green of a graveyard in a neat little estate village. One gets so used to the Walsingham area churches having a sense of antiquity, as if it was only the power of prayer that was keeping it up, that it felt odd to be standing beside this tiny one which could have been turned out crisp from the oven that morning.

The Assumption is, I am afraid to say, quite different from all the other churches around here for another reason - it is kept locked. I could not think of any earthly reason for this to be so. Perhaps the parish do not feel that they need the power of prayer. I have since been told that there is a key, and that it is at the estate office. Unfortunately, I did not know this at the time, because there is no notice in the porch telling you so. To all intents and purposes, this is an inaccessible building, a dead church in the land of the living.

The vast majority of the gravestones here were removed in the 1960s to make it easier to cut the grass. So, goodbye several centuries of history. The ones that were kept concern the family who live at the Hall, who presumably had the loudest voices. Ho hum.

I was disappointed. I expected better of this part of Norfolk. Through the window I could see the 20th century animal bench ends for which the church is famous, and the mawkish, ugly Margaret Tarrant north chancel window featuring a young girl with lambs. I would have liked to have seen both of them more closely, but that wasn't possible. I managed a shot of the window, but good samaritan Peter Stephens kindly came to my rescue with a few more shots, which you can see below.

Wandering around the outside, there are two Saxon-style splayed round windows above the north door, so this is an ancient place. I do wish they would keep it open, though.

  hideous, mawkish window

Simon Knott, May 2005

 

the view west (c) Peter Stephens looking east (c) Peter Stephens birdbath font (c) Peter Stephens north door and Saxon windows (c) Peter Stephens

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