Breckles St Margaret
St Margaret’s church is located on the B1111 road from the A11 to Watton; there is no “proper” village of Breckles, only a handful of scattered farm buildings.
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Visiting Breckles St Margaret
You cannot miss St Margaret’s church when driving the B1111 road from the A11 to Watton. But if you look for a village in the name of Breckles, you will only find a couple of scattered farm buildings. This round tower is remembered for its striking 14th century octagonal belfry stage, with a black flint and grey stone chequer pattern on the faces between the four belfry openings. This belfry replaces the one built in the 12th century, when tower and church were built together. Near the top of the circular part are square stones with blocked round holes, facing west north and south, which could have been ventilation holes for the silence chamber below the belfry. The nave walls were raised in the 15th century to accommodate the large Perpendicular style windows, with red brick relieving arches around the heads.
The tower arch is round-headed formed of dressed stones, with the imposts (supporting the arch either side) of a single stone carved with an entwined rope pattern. There is a fine 12th century Norman square font here, one of 17 remaining in Norfolk. On its east front are four carved figures, possibly the four Evangelists? South and west have foliage and grotesque heads, one a green man upside-down facing west, and on the north side are a series of Norman round-headed intersecting arches.
The 15th century Rood screen is carved from solid wood, and has flowers on the panels, mullions and a frieze along the top of the dado. The doors rise to an ogee-shaped cresting with crockets, supporting a finial.
Near the south priest’s doorway in the chancel is a circular ledger stone for Ursula Hewyt, †1678, who asked to be buried upright! Her stone is linked to her parents’ stone, John and Mary Webb of Breckles Hall (still to be seen south-east of the church).