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

St Andrew, Buxton

Buxton

Buxton the Buxton dead

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    St Andrew, Buxton

I usually approach this large village by cycling down the long lonely lanes from Tuttington, pushing my bike along the maze of paths through the Bure water meadows between Burgh-next-Aylsham and Brampton, and via Oxnead church lost in the woods, so Buxton seems urban, with a hairdressers and a school and on a recent visit a football match going on right beside the churchyard. The Aylsham to Wroxham road is busy here, and must be more so in summer, but the church is a good looking one in its narrow graveyard filled with massive yews. The south porch is angled back to face the gate, a 19th Century innovation, and indeed St Andrew was overwhelmingly restored at this time. The building is not huge, but the two aisles make the nave seem square, the low roof intimate. A lot of money was spent here in the 1850s, and although it tends to create an appropriately urban effect, fairly dark even on a bright day, there is still a welcoming feeling, a pleasing place to be.

In general, the early glass is good. The east window depicting the Nativity, Crucifixion and Ascension under canopies and colourful strapwork is the 1858 work of Charles Clutterbuck, as is one of the windows in the south aisle. The year after brought Thomas Willement's depiction of the Good Samaritan, the Raising of Lazarus and Christ welcoming the children, and this is the best window in the church. A quarter of a century later however, Ward & Hughes window of Christ welcoming the children and the Marys at the empty tomb is a long way from being the finest work of that studio.

Some 14th century corbels survived the restoration, one in each corner of the nave, and in the south aisle there are a couple of 17th century ledger stones marooned in the sea of glazed tiles. One is to a former vicar, John Womack, its charm partly from being, apparently, the work of someone who had never done that kind of thing before. The other has a deep cut skull and flying egg-timer. The long chancel stretches away, and there is no screen, but you can see remains of the medieval dado built into another screen which separates the chancel from the south chancel chapel.

The church contains a couple of other interesting memorials, notably that to Mary Kent who died in 1773 at the age of four, under inoculation. The memorial goes on to tell us that her parents, deluded by prevalent custom, suffered the rough officious hand of Art to wound the flourishing root of Nature, and rob the little innocent of the precious gift of life. Not much of an advert for flu jabs, perhaps. A century or so later, Priscilla Hannah was the wife of Chaplain and Secretary of the Bengal Military Orphan Society, Calcutta, and 32 years old when she died at Kidderpore, East India in 1851, just one of thousands of Victorian East Anglians who went out into the Empire and never returned.

Simon Knott, December 2019

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looking east

Nativity, Crucifixion, Ascension (Charles Clutterbuck, 1858) Lazarus come forth (Thomas Willement, 1859) Go thou and do likewise (Thomas Willement, 1859) I am meek and humble of heart (Thomas Willement, 1859) St Mary Magdalene meets the Risen Christ, Christ with St Peter: 'feed my sheep', St Thomas meets the Risen Christ (Charles Clutterbuck, 1858)
died under inoculation, 1773 Good Samaritan, Raising of Lazarus, Of such is the Kingdom (Thomas Willement, 1859) Suffer little children to come uto me/He is not here he is risen (Ward & Hughes, 1883) font
skull and bone with winged hour glass, 1691 died under inoculation skulls, one winged, one with a bone, 1745

 

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