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St Andrew, Congham
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It is not all entirely modern. There is one of those panelled Purbeck marble fonts of the 13th Century, and there is also some surviving medieval and Jacobean woodwork built together to form a tower screen. The Jacobean work was probably panelling, but it is hard to say exactly where the medieval work came from. The lower part is almost certainly from the top of the rood screen, but the unusual design of the upper part suggests it might once have been an upright rather than horizontal. However, they appear parts of the same piece of wood. A puzzle.
Nothing else is old. But there is a charm to the interior, a pleasing warmth. The star of the show is probably the set of kneelers - not a phrase I ever thought I'd write, but they are certainly the most splendid I've seen in a Norfolk church.They were designed by a local woman, Joan Ross, and made by members of the Embroiderers Guild and the West Norfolk needleworkers as a memorial to a local embroiderer, Susan Gurney. They depict scenes pertinent to her, as well as more general Norfolk church and country life. The parish are obviously very proud of them.
Up in the chancel, I liked very much the memorial on the south chancel wall which records that Elsden Peter Harvey Everard was accidentally knocked down by a locomotive whilst crossing the Seaham and Sunderland railway, returning with his company from rifle practice, the high wind having prevented his hearing the signal whistle.
Simon Knott, August 2016
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