Roughton St Mary
St Marys church is located in Roughton, a Norfolk village on the A140 about 4 miles south of Cromer. It is pronounced “Rowton”.
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Visiting Roughton St Mary
Even though the church of Roughton St Mary is situated only 100 meters or so to the east of the main A140 road, it is in a really rural place, overlooking only fields and beautiful Norfolk landscape.
With its flint framed openings, this tower was clearly built in the 11th century. The lower section has two circular openings, facing north and south, typical work from that early century. Below these there are bands of ferricrete, a rough brown stone found locally. In particular there is some “herring-bone” work, where the succeeding layers are sloped alternately, giving the >>>> appearance. The little west window now has a stone frame, but higher up, below the belfry, are three slit windows, also framed with flints. The belfry stage has double openings, right through the wall, with triangular heads, all framed with ferricrete, and with a central column supporting the arches, again fashioned from pieces of ferricrete. Above is a 15th century brick and flint parapet. Within the west nave wall are traces of ferricrete quoins, marking the width of the early church before the two aisles were added. It is thought that the south aisle was added before the one on the north side. The east window of the south aisle has an earlier style of tracery, early 14th century rather than late. The chancel has a fine 14th century reticulated east window. On the north side of the chancel are two blank arches and a piscina, indicating that there was a former chapel here. The 15th century south porch is faced with evenly sized cut white flints.
The wide spacious nave has clerestory windows on both sides. These windows have shafts supported on grotesque head corbels, with more below the wall posts. The tower arch appears to have been widened, and now the organ pipes are fixed above it. The font is 14th century, with ogee arches in the tracery on each panel, and eight engaged shafts around the stem. It has a modern font cover, with open arches in Jacobean style. At the east end of the north aisle are two ledger stones, from about 1680, with carved hourglasses and skulls, popular symbols of mortality. There is a modern interpretation of a Crucifix standing on a north chancel window sill. It shows Christ on the Cross, with the traditional Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John on either side. St Mary puts out a hand to touch the loin cloth of her Son.