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

St Margaret, Worthing

Worthing: curious and remote, a shade in the brightness

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like being in Ireland from the north the chancel has gone from the south

    St Margaret, Worthing

It was a glorious Spring day, perfect for chasing the medieval, and Tom and I were working our way up from Dereham towards Fakenham. We came to Worthing, and St Margaret. This funny little round towered church sits alone in the fields a little to the east of North Elmham. Coming across it in its little graveyard in the middle of nowhere was like being in rural Ireland.

The tower was capped with a red-brick parapet in the 18th century when it was lowered to the height of the nave roof. The chancel was still there in a 1781 drawing, but Pevsner observes that it had gone by the time Ladbroke came this way in the 1820s, and all that now remains is a tumbling-crowned shadow in the east wall. The lack of an east window makes the whole piece rather stark.

The magnificent Norman south doorway reveals the true age of St Margaret, but the late medieval windows to south and north, unfortunately filled with frosted glass, show that someone cared enough about this place in the 15th century to spend money on it.

The churchyard appears well-kept, but the church itself is locked, with nothing to suggest that the building is in use for anything any more. Back in the 1990s, Pevsner's revising editor noted the font, cobbled together from medieval bricks and fragments of masonry, as being of interest. But there was no way we could get to see it.

In the Spring sunshine, with blue tits fluttering and scattering and the smell of greenness from the open fields, it was hard for us not to think of cold, silent St Margaret as a place that would remain in the stubborn winter we were leaving, a shade in the brightness. Thus passes the glory of the world, perhaps.

Simon Knott, May 2006

   

truncated tower magnificent south doorway stark 

 

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