Stockton St Michael
St Michaels church is located in Stockton, a Norfolk village just to the west of the A146 and about 4 miles north of Beccles.
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Visiting Stockton St Michael
Even though the really small village of Stockton with its handful of houses is situated close to the A146 main road, you seem to have arrived right in the countryside when you visit its church.
St Michael’s of Stockton has been covered with render, parts of which have fallen off to reveal lots of brick in the fabric. Even the tower has a lot of brickwork inside. The 14th century tower is circular all the way up, with simple arched belfry openings and two small round openings a bit lower down, more for ventilation than light. The ground floor west window has a brick arch and brick in its tracery. Mullions and tracery could be built in brick and then plastered over to look like stone. The battlemented parapet is also made of red brick, and on top is a lead-covered recessed spire. This was added in the early 19th century by the Rector who lived in Beccles, so that he could see his Church a mile away at Stockton! The chancel is mostly made of brick and is the same width as the nave, so the church has a continuous roof, covered with thatch. The 16th century south porch is built of red brick, and has an attractive curving Dutch gable at the front, added 1683.
There is a pointed tower arch, and nearby is the 14th century font. It has somewhat rustic, rotund figures protruding from the sides of the bowl, SE winged bull (Luke), SW winged man (Matthew), NW winged lion, (Mark) and NE eagle (John). The font cover is 17th century with the crocketted ribs sweeping up into a finial, and a band of carving round its base. All round the nave and chancel, just below the wall plate are painted texts, green background in the nave and red in the chancel. From the 14th century remain two Churchwarden’s pews, on the ends of which are four talbots (heraldic dogs), one of whom is chained and muzzled. One north window has three shields in the tops of the main lights, plus a panel showing the Hanoverian Royal Arms, but these have been reversed! The south-west chancel window has possibly a 14th century Blessed Virgin Mary and Child and a 15th century headless figure, perhaps of a king? The south-east chancel window has 24 quarries (panes) of the rose en soleil, the badge of the 15th century Yorkist kings. The choir stalls incorporate pieces from the medieval Rood screen.