West Lexham St Nicholas
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St Nicholas church is located in West Lexham, a Norfolk village about 6 miles north of Swaffham.
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Visiting West Lexham St Nicholas
Like neighbouring St Andrew in East Lexham, St Nicholas in West Lexham is an open and welcoming church in a nice setting with not much of a village nearby; but many of its parts are a lot younger than St Andrews. The nave here was non-existent before 1881, when it was rebuilt, paid for the local landowner. It is recorded that there had been no walls left between the tower and the chancel. The chancel was also rebuilt at that time, paid for by the Rector. The round tower was repaired in 1993, and then it again had more major restorations in 2018. There is much clunch (hard chalk) in the walls, and chalk was brought from Hillington for the repairs. During these repairs many blocked windows were discovered, both lancet shaped and circular. The outside of the tower has been re-rendered, and is now roofed by a pitched roof with brick gable ends at the north and south sides within the parapet. The tower was added to an earlier church, probably 13th/14th century.
The tower arch is pointed, probably 13th century. There is a coffin slab within the floor of the tower, with a Celtic cross and a double-omega pattern, probably for a priest in the 13th century. In the south-west nave corner stands a metal tombstone, for John Jex †1874, brought inside to protect it from the weather. Nearby is the plain font with an old bowl set on to a new stem. The chancel arch appears to have 14th century stonework, with a double chamfer. The chancel, following its 1881 re-build, has a marble floor, diamond shaped and in three colours for the sanctuary, and in black and white for the rest. There is a curious piscina in the chancel south wall, just two round-head narrow arches. The aumbry opposite has a wooden frame. Perhaps both are part of the 19th century restoration? The east window has glass made in France in the English style, which is very unusual. The maker was L. Lobin of Tours in 1882. It shows the central figure of Christ, surrounded by five scenes from His life. The picture, hanging below, behind the altar, shows Jesus as a child of twelve years sitting in the Temple in the midst of the Doctors of the Law.