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

St Peter, Morley St Peter

Morley St Peter: organic

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as if it is going back to nature from the south-east doorway to the porch red brick stair turret on the truncated tower

    St Peter, Morley St Peter
as if it just grew there   There are two Morleys. The other church, St Botolph, has a big Perpendicular tower and nave, so typical of Norfolk, but St Peter is more subtle and more delicate, slightly ramshackle and battered by the years. The truncated tower with its pyramid cap is most effective, and even the cement rendering has an organic feel, as if everything is going quietly back to nature.

The church sits slightly above the road, which bends at a dogleg angle to get around it. It is a very attractive setting; as Mortlock memorably described, it looks as if the church just grew there. How could you see this building and not love it at once?

The two Morley churches may be physically different to each other, but they share one annoying characteristic: they are both kept locked without keyholders. This is a shame, because St Peter is exactly the kind of church that I would normally like. Judging by the exterior, I imagined a unique character formed by the events of centuries, a touchstone to the long generations of the parish. I would have loved to sit inside it for a while, but it was not to be.

As it is, I am told that there are a couple of interesting memorials, and some good modern glass by the King workshop in the east window depicting the Madonna and Child. You can just about make out how good it is from the exterior, and this only increases the frustration. I'm young enough to hope that the policy will change, there will be new churchwardens and I may come back this way in twenty or thirty years time to find it open.

Simon Knott, January 2006


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