Stanford All Saints
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All Saints church is located in Stanford on the STANTA military training area.
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Visiting Stanford All Saints
It took me a couple of years and several written applications to the STANTA Military Training area until I finally got the permission to visit the church of Stanford All Saints, as it is situated in this military training area today. You cannot visit this church on your own, you will be driven by a member of the forces to the church (if you are lucky to get the permission). Maybe it is a good idea to join a tour the Norfolk Churches Trust (www.norfolkchurchestrust.org.uk) organizes on a more or less regular base. The most unusual thing about the church today is that the roof is now covered with dark brown steel sheets, as the military helicopters tended to whip off the tiles.
All Saints church of Stanford has not been in use as a church since 1942. Even before then, in 1770, it was described as “ruinous” and then only the nave and tower were restored. There was subsequently a major restoration in the 1850s. However the striking round tower still stands, originally built in the 12th century and then having a 15th century octagonal belfry added. The belfry stage has four openings with a tracery pattern, which is repeated in the four dummy windows on the alternate faces. These have blacks flints set back into the stonework, known as “proudwork”. There is an early first floor window, just north of due west, with upright and flat stones for its jambs and a single stone for its lintel, with an arch cut into it. There is a plain shallow parapet, resting on a band of ball flowers, and now there is a flat roof, slightly protruding over the top of the tower. All the exterior of the Church is 19th century, as the porch, both aisles and the chancel were re-built in the 1850s. There are a few old stones re-set in the east wall of the south aisle, some 12th century chevron carving, some friezes with carved quatrefoils and trefoils, and a 14th century head.
Inside the tower arch has a simple roll moulding and a round arch, and dates from the 12th century. Both arcades have two 14th century pillars of a quatrefoil plan. The medieval font remains at the west end of the south aisle, and is totally plain. The central nave roof is supported by 19th century stone corbel heads, but there are some medieval heads in the aisles. The chancel arch is 14th century, and there is a foliaged corbel to its south. The only coloured glass remaining is 19th century in one north aisle window. There were once side chapels to the chancel, and traces of arches remain at the east ends of both aisles.