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of St Thomas of Canterbury,
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St Thomas of Canterbury, Wymondham
this loveliest of Norfolk towns, there is one of
its finest churches, Wymondham Abbey, the
Anglican parish church. There is also a very
interesting Catholic parish church as well, and
both are friendly and welcoming, open everyday.
In the days when the Abbey church was the
batleground of the political infighting between
town and Church, there was a chapel of ease to it
up on the high street, the chapel of St Thomas of
Canterbury. This chapel fell into disuse at the
Reformation, but remarkably it still exists, and
is still in use. For many years it was a grammar
school, and then in the 1870s it was renovated as
a public hall. Today, it is Wymondham's branch
The road beside it is called Church
Street, a memory of the past. What you see today
is pretty much all of the 14th century, although
the actual foundation was a couple of centuries
earlier, shortly after the Saint's martyrdom.
a public library, you can go inside, and they
don't mind you taking photographs. It is
startlingly like stepping into a church. I don't
know why this surprised me. The hammerbeam roof
stretches like a great insect across the space
which runs unbroken from west to east.
arch in the west wall contains an intricate
window, and another in the north wall may once
have led to a bell tower. There is another blind
archway in the south wall. The east window is
high and beautiful. A blind Norman window in the
north wall may indicate that this is from the
are planning a visit, it would be worth checking on
opening hours. Coming from Suffolk, I was a bit shocked
by how much time Norfolk's libraries spend closed - they
don't seem to open in the evenings or on Sundays at all,
and some even close on Saturday afternoons - how odd!
Simon Knott, July 2006
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