Broad spa­ces:

An­cient build­ings are in a league of their own

EDP Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: Mar­ion Wel­ham

Five beau­ti­ful Broad­land places of wor­ship

Have you no­ticed the ma­jes­tic way churches can dom­i­nate the Nor­folk landscape? Their lofty tow­ers, vis­i­ble for miles, can feel as much a part of Broads as hear­ing the boom of a bit­tern or a get­ting a glimpse of a swal­low­tail but­ter­fly.

The five churches on these pages are just a short walk from broads and rivers and, at two of them, you can vir­tu­ally moor up out­side.

You might be for­given for cling­ing to your car – we are all in need at times – but set your sights on one or two churches rather than all five in one go and you can slacken the pace. Make it a slow-mo­tion day by pot­ter­ing in a day-boat, tramp­ing across the fields in the fresh air, or cy­cling down twisty lanes lined with reeds wav­ing in the breeze.

Let your mind wan­der back through the cen­turies as you dis­cover the sheer glory of our Broads’ churches, fash­ioned and fur­nished by the de­voted labours of past gen­er­a­tions. You’ll come across an­cient wall paint­ings, daz­zling stained glass, ex­quis­ite carv­ing and the lav­ishly dec­o­rated chan­cel screens for which Nor­folk is justly fa­mous.

It’s re­mark­able that we are able to wan­der freely into build­ings of this stature to won­der at their con­tents and re­flect on so many cen­turies of de­vo­tion, prayer and wor­ship.

Churches con­tinue to be loved and trea­sured by the volunteers who care for them and the com­mu­ni­ties they serve. So, sun­burnt and happy, don’t for­get a do­na­tion to pop in the wall safe as a thank you for an un­for­get­table day out.

In the round: The an­cient Nor­man tower of St Ni­cholas Pot­ter Heigham was given an oc­tag­o­nal ex­ten­sion in the 14th cen­tury.

Power and the glory: The mag­nif­i­cent roof and chan­cel arch at St Ni­cholas, Pot­ter Heigham

High point: Be­laugh St Peter stands proudly on a bluff above the River Bure

An­i­mal magic: Ex­quis­ite carv­ings of an­i­mals fea­ture on the bench ends at Irstead St Michael

Fa­mous screen: Rec­tor of St He­len’s, the Rev Canon Nick Gar­rard, shows the east side of the Ran­worth screen

Girl power: The elab­o­rate 15th cen­tury font at Lud­ham St Catherine fea­tures an un­usual fe­male wood­wose. Loosely trans­lated as ‘wild­men’ it’s not sur­pris­ing few wood­wose are fe­male

Heroic: St Michael him­self bat­tles with a ser­pent in this mod­ern sculp­ture in the porch niche at Irstead church

Up in arms: The tym­pa­num in St Catherine’s, Lud­ham shows the arms of El­iz­a­beth I on the east side and has a tale to tell

Saints alive: The 15th cen­tury screen at Lud­ham St Catherine, one of Nor­folk’s best

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