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St Andrew, Wood Dalling
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Andrew, Wood Dalling
I like small churches best, but this is exactly the kind of big church that I like. In common with other churches around here, it is open every day and welcoming to visitors, but St Andrew is quite different inside to its neighbours. You step into a huge open space, quite uncluttered and full of light, and everso slightly ramshackle. There is no coloured glass; St Andrew has no secrets, it is a building to take in as a whole at first sight. Tall, creamy arcades lift to the old wood of the roofs; the benches are primitive, and can't be terribly comfortable, but they are full of character. The brick floors complete the sense of an utterly rural space. The chancel space is enchanting. Oh, and the place is absolutely full of the crunch of bat poo.
Wood Dalling is not without treasures - there are half a dozen good brasses and the remains of several others, including a rare chalice brass. Oddly, they all seem to have been reset, sometimes clumsily, in new indents, perhaps in the 19th century. Did they come from Wood Dalling originally, I wonder? The stairs in the south-west corner leads to the parvise of the porch, and there is a very curious medieval corbel that seems to serve no purpose above it. The effigy of a medieval knight in the north aisle is even stranger - some Victorian fancy has recut it as a 19th century woman.
Simon Knott, July 2006
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