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St Andrews Barningham - April 30th 2010
St Mary Redgrave -
April 30th 2010
St. Albans - August 27th 2010
St Andrews South Lopham - April 30th 2010

St Andrews - Barningham (Reported and photographed by David Rowe)
Such was the demand for places that Barry wasn't certain he had a seat!
However all was well and we passed through countryside that was bursting with the first signs of Spring.
As always Barry had found us some gems to enjoy. Our first stop was at Barningham St Andrews church halfway between Thetford and Diss. For nearly six hundred years St Andrew's Church has been used as a place of worship by the village. It is set in the centre of the village surrounded by a closed churchyard. Although the church is noted in the Domesday Book nothing actually remains of the church building from that time. The exterior of the present church has changed very little over five hundred years. The chancel windows are 14th century decorated style while the nave windows are of the mid 15th perpendicular style. The remains of the screen show remnants of the original colours and the many carved bench ends have delightful figures. The pulpit is simple probably mid 17c.

Carved bench end

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Remains of screen

Pulpit of around 17thc





St Andrews - South Lopham (Reported and photographed by David Rowe)

Our second church was St Andrews South Lopham. It has the largest Norman tower in Norfolk other than the Cathedral, 1110 a gift from William Bigod to the monks of Thetford. There is one small circular window a remnant of the original Saxon church. The chancel 1350-80 was built by Nicholas Horton Rector.
Inside, the construction of the wall can be seen following renovations.
There is a compound hammer beam roof.



Hammerbeam roof
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General view of St. Andrews-South Lopham

Wall renovations


St. Mary - Redgrave (Reported and photographed by David Rowe)

After lunch in Diss we made our way to Redgrave St Mary, a Grade 1 listed church recently renovated by The Churches Renovation Trust and now open to the public again. It dates from 1280 and is mostly in the decorated gothic style. It contains many fine monuments of which the black & white marble effigies of Nicholas Bacon and his wife of 1616. A very flamboyant memorial to Sir John Holt Chief Justice 1710 by Thomas Green are outstanding.

Nicholas Bacon & his wife

Our thanks as always to Barry and to our bus driver whose skill along very narrow tracks and backing downhill into a field resulted in spontaneous applause!

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Memorial to Sir John Holt - Chief Justice





Visit to St Albans

To view more pictures of St. Albans, they can be viewed here........

Please note this is an external link to 'Picasa' web album where you can either view each picture individually, or select a slideshow top right.

Photography & text by David Rowe


Barry assured us that the dull weather we had to start, would improve as the day went on, it did.

As we arrived the sun came out and we were advised of the treasure trove of sights St Albans had to offer us. The Cathedral, the Roman remains, the Monastic ruins and the town buildings themselves.

We (my wife and I) went first to Roman remains. Established about AD50 and destroyed by Queen Boudicca in AD61, rebuilt and burned to the ground by a fire in AD 155 and then built in stone, giving us the remains we see today. The Theatre seating 6,000 is the only one in the country with a stage. Although there were gory events, there were also plays. The site was well presented and described with notice boards.

To further explain Roman St. Albans (Verulamium) there is the nearby modern museum which is very well laid out and has video presentations covering all aspects of Roman life. The mosaics were particularly fine, showing the high standard of life in this one time Roman capital of England.

The city is quite compact so it is only a 15mins. walk back to the Cathedral, the gem in the crown. Saint Alban himself, became the first British Christian martyr when executed in the town in AD209 for refusing to abandon his religion. Today, the Cathedral that bears his name dominates the sky line of the town. Little remains of the monastic buildings. Remnants of the cloister are visible on the outside of the south side of the church, a large open area known as the Abbey Orchard. Beyond the West End of the church stands the Great Gateway, built in the 14th century and now part of St Albans School.

The present Abbey Church was begun in 1077, using Roman bricks and flint from the ruined city of Verulamium at the bottom of the hill. Its massive 11th century bell tower is the only remaining example of its type. In successive centuries the building has been enlarged and altered. It now has the longest nave in England, which displays the Romanesque arches of the 11th century, Early English arches from the early 13th century enlargement, and decorated arches from a rebuilding after a partial collapse in 1323. In the nave and elsewhere there is a series of outstanding 13th and 14th century wall paintings, hidden after the reformation and rediscovered in the 19th century..
The Shrine of Saint Alban was rebuilt in the early 14th century. It was destroyed at the reformation, but rediscovered and rebuilt in the 19th century, and restored in 1993. A rare survival, it remains a centre of ecumenical worship. A fine scarlet embroidered canopy for St. Alban's shrine was designed by Suellen Pedley. After the dissolution of the monastery in 1539 the Abbey Church was bought by the town as its parish church, and continues as such. During the following 300 years there were many changes. The 14th century Lady Chapel was divided off to become a school, and many parts of the building fell into disrepair. Repair and restoration began in the 1850s and the Lady Chapel was brought back into church use in 1870. Restoration in the 1880s, under the direction of Lord Grimthorpe, substantially altered the outside appearance of the West End and was the cause of much controversy at the time.

The town itself has many fine buildings and delightful touches such as the varied doorways. Unique features of the town are ten street War Memorials on the walls of buildings around the city.

To round off our visit, meeting back at the Cathedral we were delighted to find The Hertfordshire Youth Orchestra rehearsing for a concert and were able to sit and wait to the Music of Gustav Holsts' The Planets.

As it was the last Bank Holiday weekend of the year, our driver was a little concerned at the prospect of heavy traffic on the M25 . However our luck was in and we sped home with no hold-up at all.

Another splendid visit. Thank you Barry and all the organizers.

(Reported and photography by David Rowe)

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To make a booking (members only) please contact Barry Wall on
01787 227029 or email info@sudburyhistorysociety.co.uk