Norton - All Saints

A visit today to Norton Church of St Andrew, tucked away down a long lane. The church has remnants indicating a 13th century origin, and the tower 14th, although this was not finished until somewhat later. It has a rather plain interior but with one or two interesting features. Most of these old churches usuall have something!

A general view of the church from the south side.

One of the internal doors - North side?

View from the Chancel looking West - plain and simple. However, on the right, at the back of the church is a very curious monument. The name has now gone, but Mortlock tells us that it remembers Daniel Bales who died in 1625. He left a dole of bread for the poor, and the arched recess with the skeleton at the back was the place where the bread was placed.

Also at the back is this wonderful 15C font, regarded as one of the church`s outstanding treasures. Speculation is that it`s supurb condition is because it was well plastered over in the puritan times and nothing was protruding to be knocked off by them in their frenzy! Later, of course, the plaster was removed to reveal it in its pristine condition.

A wonderful old document chest

But what makes Norton a really special place to visit is the collection of 14th century stalls with misericord seats. They are some of the finest in Suffolk, eclipsed only by those at Stowlangtoft. This is, of course, interesting, why should two neighbouring churches have some of the best stalls in East Anglia?  It is speculated that they may have come from a priory church like nearby Thetford, but they might also have come from Bury Abbey, which had a connection with this church.

Misericord seat, one of three in the Church.

A misericord (sometimes named mercy seat, like the biblical object) is a small wooden structure formed on the underside of a folding seat in a church which, when the seat is folded up, is intended to act as a shelf to support a person in a partially standing position during long periods of prayer. These ones really are in great condition.

Two of the many bench ends. I believe here are many more at the nearby church of Stowlangtoft.


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