Thorpe Abbotts All Saints
All Saints church is located outside its village of Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk, right on the main A143 road Bungay to Scole.
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Visiting Thorpe Abbotts All Saints
All Saints of Thorpe Abbotts is a church which has still very limited opening hours (see link to Exploring Norfolk Churches). However, this may be due to its position right on the main A143 road. There is only a small parking bay just to the north of this road that separates it from the churchyard.
The Manor here belonged to the Abbots of Bury St Edmund. The tower is 14th century, all one build, although it appears to have two octagonal stages. The circular part, standing on a brick plinth, is topped by a stone string course, on which there is a low octagonal stage with a small stone-framed opening facing west. Within the tower, it remains circular to about two feet above this window. Another stone string course supports the taller belfry stage. Both octagons have early red brick quoins, and the parapet and repairs to the top are in a different red brick. The four openings have quatrefoils in their heads, and there is matching tracery in the alternate four faces with flushwork dummy windows. The north nave wall has signs of 11th century work with flint quoins, though the nave was later extended westwards, which part includes the present pointed doorways. About half way along, in the old part of this wall is a flint-formed arch of an earlier, 11th century doorway. The chancel is basically 13th century though its windows were replaced in the 19th century. The south porch is made of 16th century red brick, and from the front it is clear that the gable was heightened at some stage for a new roof.
Inside the west wall has two rebates, to thin the wall. The pointed tower arch is filled with a modern screen and door given in 1995. The 15th century font stands in the north-west corner, and has the Evangelists’ symbols alternating with other things: E cross mouline, SE winged bull (Luke), S St George’s cross, SW winged lion (Mark), W perhaps a merchant’s mark?, NW eagle (John), N a crown and two arrows for St Edmund, NE winged man (Matthew). There are angel heads in the corona and the base is 19th century, though perhaps there were once lions seated around the stem. The 15th century Rood screen appears to have come from elsewhere and to have been cut down to fit. It has 1½ bays, filled with panelled tracery, on each side of the entrance arch. The heavy beam at the top probably once supported a Rood loft? Some of the panels in the base have been removed to allow access to the choir stalls. The chancel roof is 19th century and is supported by large angels on the wall posts. Behind them the wall plates, with battlement carvings, are medieval. Each south chancel window, in its apex, has a blue shield with three gold crowns, for Bury Abby. The east one is old glass, the west one is a 19th century copy.