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

St Andrew, Langford

Read the captions by hovering over the images, and click on them to see them enlarged.
From across the fields - so typically East Anglian. 400 years separate windows to both north and south. Cat in the eaves.
Stone wall where the tower once was. Victorian vestry and bell turret from north side. The norman-style bell turret. The great south doorway. Inside: looking east.
North wall splays. That hideous monument. Bullet holes in the west window.
Thomas Everson, 1726, and five unnamed children Inside: looking west. Sir James Pultney, 1811 The monument overpowers the chancel. Splays in the south wall.
Sir Nicholas Garrard, 1727 -  the age has been left blank. Dame Sarah Garrard, 1703 Wild man of Langford

    St Andrew, Langford

If you didn't know, you would never guess. Although Langford church is within the battle training area, its surroundings are so familiar that you would think it just another lonely East Anglian church. Norfolk and Suffolk have dozens of little churches with settings like this. Standing the narrow track with a field of barley on the right, only the barbed wire topped fence around the church suggested to me that something was strange. Not far off, melting mounds of Norfolk clunch tell you that there was a village here once; but it was never other than tiny.

St Andrew is also not very big. It is the smallest of the churches in the training area, a simple two-celled Norman building which once had a medieval tower, but lost it in the 18th century. The west wall that replaced it is made of stone, which looks curious in this heartland of flint. The bell turret is late Victorian, but has Norman detailing that was intended to fit in. In truth, anything here that is not understated is out of place, as we shall see inside. Before that, I saw on both sides a fine 15th century window beside a blocked Norman lancet; and there are curious faces up in the eaves of the nave east end, a grinning cat to the south, a wild man to the north. He reminded me of the ones on the sedilia at nearby Thompson.

A kestrel nests most years in the porch. A grand Norman doorway leads into a simple open space, now completely cleared of everything except for the font, and, up in the chancel, the outrageously grand 18th century Garrard memorial. It is wholly pagan, the three figures (grand-father, father and son) dressed in Roman togas and striking attitudes of rational calm. No awe and wonder here. And although it does overpower the place most unfortunately, there is also a sense in which it seems tucked away against the north chancel wall, as if it were sulking there, and so it should.

Eversons and more Garrards are remembered by ledger stones. This was the closest church to the great hall at Buckenham Tofts, but most residents prefered to be remembered at the grander church at West Tofts.

The west window bears scars of a time when the training area was less controlled than it is today. Stepping outside, there are very few headstones in the graveyard in comparision with the other three training area churches; but in places in the grass I came across little pools of flat stone denoting a memorial almost hidden now by overgrowth, soon to be lost forever. Ghosts of ghosts...

Simon Knott, May 2004

you can also read an introduction to the churches of the Norfolk battle training area


Elizabeth Jane Manning, 1924. James Bacon, 1854. Martha Foster, 1850.

an introduction to the churches of the Norfolk battle training area


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