Surlingham St Mary
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St Marys church is located in Surlingham, a Norfolk village close to the River Yare and about 5 miles east of the City of Norwich.
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Visiting Surlingham St Mary
St Mary’s church in Surlingham is situated close to the River Yare and the Norfolk Broads. If you visit it, I strongly recommend you make the beautiful walk down to the river, along the shoreline to the Ferry Boat Inn, and then back via footpaths to the church. You will also be able to visit the pretty ruins of St Saviours’s church during this walk.
St Mary’s is yet another church where the octagonal belfry has been added later, though probably not a lot later. The round part has its first belfry openings with pointed arches, now blocked, though the west facing one has a slit opening. There is a ground floor small west window, but above it are two further slit openings that have been infilled with red tiles. The fabric contains a lot of cut flints, which would not have been used before the 14th century. There are also more patches of repairs with red tiles. There seem to have been browner flints in this area, rather than the usual grey ones. The octagonal belfry is made from cut white flints and stonework with late 14th century tracery, with blank walls between the four openings. On the north side, next to the nave, is a stair turret of brick and flint, probably added in the 16th century. This tower held four bells, but two more were added for the Milennium in 2000.
The south-west quoin of the nave is made from brown flints, but as the whole south wall has many cut flints, it seems unlikely that it dates back to the 12th century, it is more like 14th century work. The south porch was rebuilt in 1859. The chancel is made of red brick, built in the early 19th century, with windows of that time. On the north side of the church, the vestry was made of stone blocks, and then a tool shed was added in red brick. The north aisle wall has been heightened in brick and has brick buttresses. There is a red brick-framed round-headed doorway, possibly built at the same time as the chancel.
The tower arch is pointed, cut straight through the wall. In front of it is a gallery with a white painted front, holding the organ. Below the gallery is the 15th century lion font with the usual four seated lions around the stem and angel heads supporting the bowl. The bowl has four angels with shields, and E Instruments of the Passion, S three crowns for East Anglia, W the Trinity Symbol and N three hosts above three chalices, the symbol of the Blessed Sacrament. There are three pillars dating from the late 13th century dividing off the north aisle. Both nave and chancel now have blue plastered ceilings and white walls, in keeping with the early 19th century chancel. In front of the altar is a small worn chalice brass for a priest, Richard Lonhawkys, †1513. Between the choir stalls is a brass figure of a priest in his vestments, remembering the Rev’d John Alnwick, Vicar 1432 – 1449. There is a fine modern oak lectern, of an eagle with his wings outstretched supporting the Bible and an owl at the foot, given in 1969. The oak is untreated and is a lovely silvery colour.