Brandiston St Nicholas
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St Nicholas church is located in the small rural village of Brandiston, two miles south of Cawston.
It is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
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Visiting Brandiston St Nicholas
Like Ashmanhaugh St Swithin, Brandiston St Nicholas is not easy to find. The easiest way is if you just have visited Haveringland St Peter: simply follow the road northwards to Cawston for about 400 m. You will arrive at a T-junction, where Brandiston is signposted straight on. Ignore this and turn left, and after another 450 m, you will see a “Public Footpath” sign on the left hand side. Try to park here, and follow the footpath; you will finally arrive at St Nicholas which is really small, and hidden within a copse. The map above will give you the necessary directions if needed, or have a look at www.streetmap.co.uk which is more detailed and also shows the footpath. It is in a very rural position, and even though this church has seen better days, I still like it a lot because it has a nice atmosphere.
It no longer has any separate chancel, and its tower has been reduced in height, making it so difficult to spot. It is a redundant church now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. The 13th century tower suffered gale damage in 1890 and was rebuilt 1902/3 with a different octagonal top. It is possible that the original church stood to the east of the tower, which was added to it later. This nave and chancel were changed to become the north aisle when its south wall was converted to an arcade (with slender quatrefoil pillars) and the present wider nave and the now demolished chancel were added, in the 14th century. The present east wall of the church contains a lot of red brick work and is supported by two sturdy brick buttresses. The large windows, of one size and shape, have either the 15th century Perpendicular tracery or a version of the earlier Decorated style. There is particularly fine Decorated window tracery at the east end of the north aisle, which could have been the east window of the earlier chancel, moved to this position when it was demolished. The porch was added in the 15th century and then heightened in the 17th century.
There are fragments of 14th century glass around the top of the lights of the central south window. The others have pieces of darker glass in their tracery, including a lively lion’s face, and some canopy work at the top of some lights. The font and its metal work cover date from 1892, and stand in front of the large west window. Because the tower is at the west end of the north aisle, it is possible to have a large window in the west nave wall!
The east bay of the nave forms the chancel. Across the east wall is wooden panelling including the reredos. This has carvings of a galleon and the arms of St Nicholas with three purses of gold. The window to the north of the altar contains a few pieces of grisaille glass, early silvery grey glass with fine black outlines painted on, mostly foliage, flowers or birds.