Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe St Matthias
St Matthias church is located in Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe, a Norfolk village close to Haddiscoe and just to the west of The New Cut on the Norfolk Broads.
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Visiting Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe St Matthias
St Matthias in Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe is situated really close St Mary’s of Haddiscoe. It is only about a mile or so to walk. From close to the churchyard, you have a great view over the fields and the Haddiscoe (New) Cut of the Norfolk Broads.
This 11th century or early 12th century tower has several stone-framed slit windows, some now blocked, with the round head cut into a single stone. However the ground floor west window is a modern insertion. About the level of the ridge of the nave roof is a stage with recessed panels, about 42 inches wide, all around the tower, all formed in flint. They are only sunk in three inches, with the intervening pilaster strips being eight inches wide, tapering at the top, (there were never arches here), and four of the slit windows are set within these panels, facing the diagonal directions, i.e. south-west, north-west, etc. There are fillets (flint infills) between the straight wall of the nave and the curved wall of the tower. These fillets are capped with a stone finial. The belfry openings are clearly 12th century, with stone double round arches supported by stone shafts with volute capitals, at the surface of the wall. Within the tower each opening is formed of a single rere-arch made with flint. At the top of the tower the 15th century parapet has a chequer pattern of black and grey flints. The thatched nave is a bit earlier, and still has a north doorway with a simple rounded arch. The south doorway also has a round head, with a simple roll moulding on the inner arch. Caen stone is used for both doorways and for the west quoins of the nave. The red brick chancel, covered with grey slates, was rebuilt in 1838. The flint south porch is 14th century.
In front of the round-headed tower arch stands the square 12th century Purbeck font on four shafts and a central column, with four rounded arches on each face. It is obviously earlier than the many Purbeck fonts seen from the 13th century with pointed arches! Above the tower arch, right at the top of the gable, is a former double-splayed circular window, obviously put in the wall before the tower was added. In the south-west corner of the nave are two arched recesses for a double aumbry (cupboard). Some steps for the Rood stairs can be seen cut into the east side of the north-east window. The chancel arch is 13th century and a simple red glass cross is to be seen in the east window.