Denton St Mary
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St Mary’s church is located in Denton, a village in Norfolk some hundred yards north to the A143 and about halfway between Harleston and Bungay.
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Visiting Denton St Mary
St Mary’s church in Denton is not easy to find: first, it lies about a mile to the south of the small village of Denton, and second, it is hidden behind some large private houses. Thankfully, it is signposted from the road to the north of the church, but even when you drive along the path, you will doubt that you are on the right way. But there is a parking space, and a sign that tells you you have indeed come to the right place.
But you will probably be again in serious doubt when you walk the path to the church, as one has to look closely at this tower to make sure that it qualifies as a round tower! The eastern quarter of the tower, next to the church, is however round and made of flints. The round tower was described in 1692 as “steeple fallen, bells on ground” and had probably been in that state for a hundred years. The tower was rebuilt in red brick as a square tower between 1703 and 1714. It had a rather heavy top stage, which had four pinnacles, which was re-built and faced with flints in 1843. It holds a clock, facing north and west, provided in 1884.
The early 15th century north porch has a vaulted ceiling, which contains carved bosses showing the Coronations of the Virgin (centre), and also the Annunciation E, Nativity S, Resurrection W and Ascension N.
Entering the church, there is a particularly large parish chest, about 7½ feet wide, with three locks for the Rector and Churchwardens to each have a key. The font in front of the tower arch is 15th century with shields on the bowl and carvings on the stem.
The large chancel dates from about 1300, and has a ceiling with painted panels. On the south side of the chancel is a 19th century chest, with a very interesting array of Saints on its sides and front. It appears to have been made up from a former screen, or possibly the front of a Rood loft. The Saints are (east end) Agnes, Dorothy, (front E-W) Jude, Peter, a Bishop possibly Ambrose, Clement, Sitha, Barbara, Edmund, Edward the Confessor, (west end) Walstan, Paul.
The large east window is filled with coloured glass, placed here in 1716-9. It contains some 14th century canopy work, some 15th century roundels, but is mostly from the 16th and 17th century, much of it heraldic glass, with some from the 19th century, such as the four panels at the base, when the glass was re-set. You will find lots of detailed photographs of this window in the slideshow.