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

St Andrew, Buxton

Buxton: come on you yews

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a busy little place a good looking church

  St Andrew, Buxton

Having just cycled down the long lonely lanes from Tuttington, pushed my bike along the maze of paths through the Bure water meadows between Burgh and Brampton, and found Oxnead church lost in the woods, Buxton seemed very urban, with a hairdressers and a school and a football match going on right beside the churchyard. The Aylsham to Wroxham road is very 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.

St Andrew is overwhelmingly Victorianised, but not without interest. It is not huge, but the two aisles make the nave seem square, the low roof making it intimate. Unfortunately, the nave glass lacks life, creating an anonymous, urban effect, and it was fairly dark even on this bright spring day. But there were a couple of friendly people cleaning and doing flowers, and they were very welcoming, so it felt a nice place to be.

Mary Kent memorial (detail)   The church contains a couple of interesting details, including a memorial to Mary Kent, who died aged 4 under inoculation. The memorial continues to say 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, that.

There are some good 14th century corbels too, one in each corner of the nave. In the south aisle there are a couple of absolutely splendid 17th century ledger stones marooned in the sea of minton 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, a primitive version of the same design I had seen a couple of weeks previously at Knapton.

The chancel is very long, and although there is now no screen you can see remains of the medieval dado built into the screen that separates the chancel from the south chancel chapel. the east window is very curious; the Nativity, Crucifixion and Ascension presented in a kind of naive naturalistic style, the faces rendered almost photographically. I wasn't sure that I liked it.

Coming outside, I noticed the curious angle of the south porch, pointed backwards to face the village gate. Apparently, this is a Victorian innovation. I headed east, and, crossing the river, came into the twin village of Lamas, which I always want to pronounce to rhyme with 'farmers'. In fact, it rhymes with 'spam us'. Oh well.

Simon Knott, April 2005


lookinbg east in the long chancel memorial Mary Kent memorial 
corbel corbel corbel
east window remains of rood screen 18th century skulls
skull and flying egg timer 

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