Freethorpe All Saints
All Saints church is located in Freethorpe, a small Norfolk village about 4 miles south of Acle.
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Visiting Freethorpe All Saints
All Saints church in Freethorpe today is an open and welcoming church. In 1849 it was described as being in “a state of complete desolation. The nave wholly gutted and small portions of the walls only left; the chancel filled with rubbish. The tower still standing, we are told is soon to be taken down”. Fortunately there was a major restoration in 1850/1. Thus it looks immaculate inside now, but unfortunately lacks the character of the “real” old churches (e.g. like neighbouring Moulton St Mary).
This round tower has a jaunty red-tiled cone roof, topped with a gilded weather vane, matching the red tiles covering the nave and narrow aisles in one slope. Many of the windows in this church are slender lancets, not letting in much light, though most of these are part of the 19th century restoration work when the north and south aisles were added in 1850. The south porch was also added then. The east ends of the nave and chancel roofs are crowned with 19th century gable crosses, with circles enclosing the four arms.
Each aisle is separated from the nave by a single octagonal pillar. The tower arch is tall and narrow, with many mouldings all round and the only capitals holding the inner arch. Below the tower stands the plain font on a reeded stem, possibly dating back to the 13th century. The arms in the west window are for the Walpole family.
At the west end of the chancel, built as an extension of the north aisle (but not accessible from it) is the former Walpole Family pew, with its own fireplace! It has a large representation of the Walpole/Vade arms in its north facing window. The nephew of Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister, acquired the Manor of Freethorpe in the 18th century. Later the son of a Walpole sister, Mary Rachel Vade, added Walpole to his name so that he could inherit. The chancel has much 19th century wood panelling, including the reredos.