Wickmere St Andrew
St Andrews church is located in Wickmere, a Norfolk village in the rural area between Aylsham and Sheringham.
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Visiting Wickmere St Andrew
The beautiful setting of St Andrew’s in Wickmere is rural Norfolk at its best. There is not much of a village nearby, but plenty of other Round Tower Churches, making it a great area for Churchcrawling.
Only the first eight feet of the 11th century tower remain, made of lumps of ferricrete, along with the lower part of its north stair turret, and the west nave wall with its ferricrete quoins (before the aisles were added). Ferricrete is a rough dark brown stone, found locally and is 2-70 million years old. This remains to the height of the sill of the ground floor west window, which is 14th century. Above this the tower was rebuilt in the 14th century, with quatrefoils in the tops of the belfry openings. The parapet was added in the 15th century and has flushwork panels. The aisles and chancel have 14th century windows, so there must have been a major rebuilding then. The clerestory is built of cut white flints, with grey stone crosses set between the windows, which alternate between quatrefoils and two-lights. The south porch also has flushwork panels, with cut white flints set into the stone work for the south face, and proudwork, where the stones are recessed back, in the buttresses. Significant iron work is displayed on the south door, dating back to about 1360.
This Church has many connections with the Walpole Family, the Earls of Orford, from the neighbouring Wolterton Hall, since their round towered church in the park became ruinous circa 1737. The 15th century font stands in front of the pointed tower arch. The font has alternate Tudor (double) roses and shields around its bowl, with a corona of human heads and fleurons and a stem of engaged shafts. Old benches (which did not have backs) with carved poppy heads, remain in both aisles. One bench end on the south side is carved with the shield of the Annunciation (three sprigs of lily in a vase) and the request “Orate pro animus Jon Bacon, Ysabel Bacon, Rauffe, Ysabel” (Pray for the souls…). The 15th century Rood screen is much restored, especially the top, but traces of figures can be seen on some of the panels. The first to the north of the entrance is St Andrew with his X. Nearby is the pulpit made up using a panel found at the Hall, possibly from the ruined church? It shows a civilian and six sons, and a lady with ten daughters, William and Agnes praying for God’s mercy. The monuments and hatchments refer to the Walpole Family. There is a stone bracket of a lion flanked by angels, and traces of black letter texts (Psalm 105), in the north aisle, and an unexplained shape above the chancel arch, perhaps a mitre? The chancel has a 15th century piscina and sedilia under one superstructure with ogee arches.