Fritton St Edmund

What you need to know about this church

St Edmund's Church Fritton

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Edmund’s church is located in Fritton, a small Norfolk village six miles south-west of Great Yarmouth.

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Tower from the west
Apsidal chancel

Visiting Fritton St Edmund

St Edmund’s in Fritton is a church you can reach when you are boating on the Broads. Moor up in St Olaves; from there, it is about half an hour walk to the church. The village was moved from Suffolk into Norfolk when the county boundaries changed in 1974. It is another round tower where the top third has been rebuilt. The lower parts, in dark cut-flints, date from the 14th century, then the top was rebuilt, and probably raised, in the 18/19th century using much whiter, cut-flits. The stone belfry openings with tracery were re-used east and west. The south nave wall was moved further south in the 14th century, but probably at the same time a new thatched roof, covering the new wider nave in one, was made. This leaves the tower and chancel both off-set to the north in the present nave. The chancel retains its 12th century form, with a rounded eastern apse. There are pilasters (shallow buttresses) where the wall changes from straight to curved.

A 19th century version of an 11th century design is used for the font. Opposite the doorway is 14th century wall painting of St Christopher, faint but more or less complete, with fish swimming round his legs, (sea fish can often be recognised in churches near the coast!).

In the south-east corner of the nave is a fine 17th century Jacobean three-decker pulpit, the lower desk for the Clerk to say the responses, the middle section for the Priest to take the service and the top deck for him to preach a sermon. Just above this is part of a painting of scrollwork, with St John the Baptist in the reveal of the window. The chancel arch is off-set to the north in the east nave wall and has 14th century scroll painting above a fine Rood screen, from the early 1300s. This has replaced shafts, supporting wheel tracery in its arches, and mouchette carvings above its entrance.

The chancel is at a lower level than the nave, and 13th century stalls are just by the steps down. It still has very early paintings visible on the vaulting of its apse. These date from the 12th century, a rare survival, and show the martyrdom of St Edmund, with him in the centre, being shot by the Danes with arrows, on either side. The wolf that rescued his head is also shown. Above left are figures representing Mother Church crowned and with a pastoral staff, and above right is Paganism, with the crown slipping and the pitcher (jug) emptying. The lower figures are possibly the donor and, on the other side, St Peter with his key.

Conclusion: beautiful open church with an unusual chancel

St Chistophorus
View into the chancel