Belton All Saints

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What you need to know about this church

All Saints church in Belton

Where to find this church

Church Information

All Saints church is located in Belton, a large village in the suburban area between Great Yarmouth and Gorleston in East Norfolk.

This church is locked, but information how to obtain a key is available

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Belton
Tower south-west view
Purbeck stone font 13th C
"Community hall" part

Visiting Belton All Saints

Belton All Saints is one of the churches you will usually find locked. This was the case on my first visit, and no information how to obtain a key was displayed then. At least, I was able to take the nice exterior photographs you can see in the slideshow. To see the interior as well, I did some homework before our next visit, and got the information how to get into the church in advance. On our visit, a lady was inside the northern annex to the church, and after explaining why we were there, she finally let us into the church. Currently, information how to obtain a key are obviously displayed, so it might have become a little easier to get into the church.

This church looks very neat and tidy with its modern red tiled roofs. The round tower here was in ruins by 1822, and subsequently rebuilt in 1849. The chancel was rebuilt in 1881. The tower is circular to the top, and has no parapet. However, the church has large windows with very fine curving tracery, in 14th century Decorated style. There are different patterns used alternately along the nave, and inside it can be seen they are alternately opposite across the nave. The nave windows sit on a stone string course, a feature from about 1300.

Entering this church is a big surprise! In recent years the nave has been used more as a community hall, and it is full of old sofas, tables, chairs, and table-tennis tables, etc! Modern facilities have been added, accessed through the north doorway.

Faint remains of former wall paintings can be seen on the north nave wall. At the west end is a tall figure, believed to be 14th century St James the Great, with his staff, scrip (pilgrim’s bag), and a scallop shell on his hat. Even less discernible above the north door, are the remains of a 15th century portrayal of the legend of the Three Quick and the Three Dead, where three wealthy young men out hunting on horseback came across three skeletons that say: “As you are now, so were we; as we are now, so shall you be”. One skeleton might be recognisable. This scene was painted over a 13th century St Christopher, which is slightly more visible! All medieval walls were brightly covered with paint, showing saints or scenes, or even just patterns.

Near the south doorway is the octagonal font, one of a type often seen, made of Purbeck stone, with a shallow, pointed arch on each face. This 13th century font has been restored, and re-polished to give a shining surface. It stands on eight shafts supporting the angles and a wider central column.

The 14th century fine Rood screen is still in place. It is square headed with a top frieze of open trefoils. There are five bays each side of the entrance, divided by turned shafts (not mullions), each with two roundels of mouchettes in the tracery. Above the entrance doors, different tracery fills the space. Behind this, the chancel can still be used for religious purposes. Its east wall is panelled in wood, incorporating the 1887 reredos, which shows carvings of the Annunciation, the Crucifixion and Jesus appearing to St Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection.

Conclusion: Unusual church with a lot to discover

Wall paintings late 14th C
Wall paintings late 14th C
Reredos