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

All Saints, Wood Norton

Wood Norton: a pretty little thing

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from the south-east from the north porch chancel 

    All Saints, Wood Norton
300 years between top and bottom   Wood Norton is one of those delightfully quiet villages to the north of the Norwich to Fakenham road. There is a beautiful old brick barn at the curve in the road beside the graveyard, and the church is a pretty little thing. The unfinished medieval tower was completed in red brick in the late 17th century, and there is a small but stately 15th century south porch. The nave is tall, but without clerestories or aisles, and the overall effect is that the building is hunching its shoulders.

Big Perpendicular windows, probably contemporary with the porch, mean that the interior is very light. The font is intriguing; it bulges like a ripe cheese, and I assume that it is also late 17th century, probably a replacement for one damaged during the Commonwealth. The cover may well be contemporary, and designed for it. Other than these, the interior is that of a pleasantly restored English village church, well kept and obviously loved.

An early 20th century resident of Wood Norton was William Forbes Norris, who is remembered by a brass inscription. He was attached to the 54th Divisional Cyclist Company, and was killed in the hell of Suvla Bay, along with so many other Norfolkers, in August 1915. He was 21 years old. The insanity of taking bicycles to Suvla, where the cliffs rise hundreds of feet above the sea, tells you a little of what you need to know about those who oversaw the slaughter of the First World War.

Little survives of the medieval life of All Saints, but probably the most memoriable feature here is the corbel head of a pig, reminiscent of the famous ones not far off at Sharrington. It supports the blocked arch to a lost chapel on the south side of the chancel, and if the piscina is anything to go by it probably dates from about 1300. I wonder if it was carved from the life?

Simon Knott, July 2006


chancel looking east looking west 17th century font and cover
pig I pig II William Forbes Norris

barn on the edge of the graveyard

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