Merton St Peter
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St Peter’s church is located in Merton, a Norfolk village about 2 miles south of Watton.
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Visiting Merton St Peter
St Peter’s church in Merton is one of the few churches that is kept locked, and where no keyholder is displayed, which is always very frustrating, especially for us, as we can only spent few weeks a year in Norfolk during our holidays. However, our friend (and co-author of this website) ‘Lyn Stilgoe from the Round Tower Churches Society had used her contacts and organised a key, so that we could also visit the inside of the church during a joint church tour with her.
The tower has three double belfry openings, supported by a central column with a cushion capital, and flint frames. The tower arch with stone facings and imposts of stone also supports a date of the 12th century. The east belfry opening is part-closed by the ridge of the present nave roof. The tower has slit windows facing north and south below the belfry, with a single stone for the lintel and flint frames. A later window has been inserted at ground floor level. In early 19th century drawings, there was a slender spire on the top, but it is not there now!
The nave has 14th century tracery in its windows, with three square-headed clerestory windows above on each side. The chancel has very interesting, early 14th century plate tracery and moulded shafts in its side windows. The trefoil shapes are cut through the stone, and are not made up by shaping stone bars. The east window has renewed tracery. The 14th century north porch was rebuilt in the 19th century, when the south porch was added.
The font is hexagonal in shape, and has shields enclosed by foliage on the bowl and a stem with engaged pillars, each with a little platform at the bottom, perhaps for seated lions. The towering font cover is part 15th century, part 1843.
In the south aisle is some curious 17th century glass of a cartouche containing a sundial, with a spider and a fly above! At the east end is the squire’s box pew, which has in its floor part of a late brass of man in armour, for Thomas de Grey †1562.
At the east end of the nave is a fine 17th century two-decker pulpit, with an hour glass attached to the nearby screen. On the wall is displayed a particularly detailed brass with shields and kneeling figures, for William de Grey †1495, and his two wives, Mary Bedingfeld and Grace Teye, with five daughters and five sons. The deceased have their hands together. The early 14th century Rood screen has lovely variety in its tracery, with wheels above the ogee entrance arch.
The chancel glass is mostly 19th century with figures of nine of the Apostles, but the north-east window has three 14th century female Saints with new heads. The spiral rails are circa 1690, around three sides of the altar.