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All Saints, Hempstead
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In the secretive green valleys of north Norfolk on a beautiful early spring day, we came down the winding lanes into a narrow little village, and there at the junction stood this funny little church on its mound. You approach from the east, and this is a thatched round apse, as pretty as if Hansel and Gretel were imprisoned inside. Walking around the graveyard presents a building which is no less odd in other aspects, with a functional red brick tower offset so far in the north-west corner that it is barely attached, and a nave in the middle which looks entirely Victorian.
The apse dates from the 1920s, and what is now the nave was obviously once a south aisle. The body of the original church has completely disappeared. There is always going to be a slight disappointment when you step inside a building which is externally so quirky, but the interior is pleasant enough, and welcoming. The east end is lovely, a beautiful survival of early 20th Century High Anglican piety.
Simon Knott, April 2008
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