Edmund, West Caister (new church)
it wasn't for the sign outside, you probably
wouldn't even take this for a church. The flint
gives the game away, as does to the high porch,
as high as the roof line, blank faced apart from
a little quatrefoil opening near the top. Pevsner
gives the date as 1854.
south side, and on the east end, the windows have
simple Y-tracery. On the north side, all
ecclesiological pretence falls away, and here we
have a simple brick building with four large
casement windows, probably replacements of
something earlier, but also probably more
indicative of the original mid-19th century
building than the south side, which is probably a
later 19th century facade.
Curiously, Paddy Apling tells me that St
Edmund is not mentioned in Kelly's otherwise meticulous
Directory for 1883. If Pevsner's date is correct, then it
should be; but I wonder if this was actually built as a
hall, and it only became a church when the flint frontage
and porch were added, perhaps in the 1890s.
Beyond, a garden, and then the dramatic ruin
of the original St
Edmund, the snaggle-tooth lower tower of a
substantial medieval parish church.
windows of the new church have been given false
leaded lozenge lights, in that style beloved of
former council houses. Through them, you can see
that the church is furnished simply, but in a
no keyholder, and I suppose the parish don't
think that their church is important enough for
visitors to want to see inside. But this is
exactly the kind of wayside shrine that in a
Catholic country would be open and accessible to
passers by, so that they might light a candle and
say a prayer. It would be lovely if the same
thing was possible here.
Simon Knott, April 2006