Colney St Andrew

What you need to know about this church

St Andrew's Church Colney

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Andrew’s church is located in Colney on the western outskirts of Norwich, close to the Norfolk an Norwich Hospital. It is pronounced “Cõ-ney”.

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Tower south-west view
Memorial on porch

Visiting Colney St Andrew

St Andrew’s in Colney was situated on the old main Watton road in the past, as you can see on the photographs of George Plunkett in the black and white slideshow. Today, the main road has moved only a couple of dozen yards to the south; however it is very difficult to spot the church from the new road, only the top stage can be seen. The church is usually locked, but on my latest visit (almost a decade ago again…), I was lucky insofar that it was open on this occasion. The downside was that there were some craftsmen who carried out repairs inside, making it rather difficult to take photos, especially because the lights were on, a situation I do not like because all photos get a yellow colouring.

Here the blocked round-headed flint-framed openings in the tower at first floor level declare the great age of this tower, going back to the 11th century. The lower part of the tower has flint fillets, flat pilaster infills covering the gap between the curved wall of the tower and the straight west wall. The nearby quoin at the north-west corner of the nave, being formed of flints, carstone and erratics, is of a similar age. The people of those times used whatever stone material they could lay their hands on, whatever was lying on the fields round about. The tower had its belfry built in the 13th century and there is a later battlemented brick parapet. The east arm of the weather vane has a replica of the famous Sunderland flying boat, made as a memorial in 2002.

The south porch was added in the 16th century, with attractive brick framed openings either side. The 1806 memorial over the entrance is worth reading and warns of the dangers of driving a wagon and horses! Just above the porch roof, to the east, are traces of a round arch formed of red tiles, which marks the remains of an early window.

The tower arch was probably of the 11th century, but is now framed with 19th century stonework. The font, made about 1400, has detailed carvings of the Crucifixion facing east, and the martyrdom of St Sebastian facing west. He was killed by having arrows shot at him, as shown, also with his feet tied together! The font also has the emblems of the four evangelists, the winged man (Matthew), winged lion (Mark), winged bull (Luke) and the eagle (John). Below the bowl are carved vines and bunches of grapes.

The Rood screen was given in 1933, but in the floor of its entrance is a chalice brass for Henry  Alikok †1505. A chalice was often used to denote a priest and he was Rector here in the late 1400s.

Conclusion: church with a really old tower and spectacular font

Colney St Andrew
Font about 1400
View into the nave