home I index I latest I glossary I introductions I e-mail I about this site
St Martin, Houghton
the captions by hovering over the images, and click on them to
see them enlarged.
There are three Houghton parishes scattered around west Norfolk, and this one sits on the beautiful Houghton Hall estate. The church is only open and accessible when the Hall is open, so that means Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and bank holidays in summer at present.
This is a small church, pleasingly set among the trees and open spaces of the Park, but unfortunately resurfaced in the 19th Century with bright flints which give it something of the air of a seaside non-conformist chapel. This disguises the fact that this is an old church, much older than the Hall, and in fact it is set on the site of the lost village of Houghton, its population transplanted away to the south of the Park by Sir Robert Walpole in 1729. The new estate cottages would of course have been much finer than the hovels they replaced.
The tower, or at least the top part of it, dates from the same time. Pevsner thought that the nave roof might have been raised and the clerestory added when the tower was rebuilt, so all in all it seems likely that Walpole's main intention was to provide himself with a view. The aisles had probably been added to a 14th Century church in the early 16th Century, judging by the window tracery, which may of course have been put there by the Victorians, though that in the north aisle at least appears original.
Inside, the view eastwards is through a squarish nave which is oddly furnished, with box pews in the aisles but none in the main body of the church. The handful of benches there seem almost an afterthought.
Simon Knott, July 2016
Amazon commission helps cover the running costs of this site.
home I index I latest I introductions I e-mail I about this site I glossary
Norwich I ruined churches I round tower churches I links I small print
www.simonknott.co.uk I www.suffolkchurches.co.uk