Norwich St Benedict
The ruins of St Benedicts church are located in the City of Norwich.
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Visiting Norwich St Bendict
St Benedict’s tower stands in splendid state in the middle of an area of grass, surrounded by modern housing close to the centre of the City of Norwich, making it the Round Tower Church in the most urban location of all. Its was bombed on 29th April 1942 and destroyed. Excavations have revealed that there was an 11th century church here, with a rounded eastern apse. This church was enlarged with a north aisle during the 12th century, and a bit later the chancel was extended and given a square east end. The tower was built in the 14th century and the aisle was enlarged northwards. In the 15th century the aisle was again enlarged, this time to the east, where it overlapped the chancel. Inside, the north arcade was supported on iron pillars. The photos by George Plunkett give you a good idea how it looked in 1934/1938 before it was destroyed , and in 1946 after the air raid of 1942.
The tower is 14th century, although the top of the octagon was rebuilt in 1743, with knapped flints. The west door is formed with dressed stone and has a pointed arch. Above the doorway is a blocked west window and an open south window (higher up), both framed with medieval brick. There are put-log holes framed with medieval brick, which were used to support the horizontal poles of scaffolding, amongst the flints. There are scars where the nave met the tower.
The octagonal belfry was built at the same time as the circular part. It has stone quoins and four belfry openings framed with medieval brick, with Y tracery. Three of these have got replacement Ys made of wood, a cheaper option than stone repairs. However the north opening has a mullion of 14th century stonework. Between these openings are flushwork patterns of Y tracery within arches and side frames – all made of red brick. This is most unusual, the only example of brick and flint flushwork in Round Tower Churches!
The font that stood in this Church, at the west end of the north aisle, is now in use at Erpingham Church, north of Aylsham. It has seated figures of Saints round the bowl and smaller standing Saints around the stem, with vaulting supporting the bowl.