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Gillingham, Saint Mary Church, NR32-3JN



Gillingham Saint Mary's Church. I bought a little book about "A day's excursion among the churches of South-East Norfolk," Charles E. Keyser. MA, FSA, this is what he had to say about Gillingham Saint Mary's Church. Here were originally two parish churches and slight remains of two more chapels or churches are still in existence. The two churches of Saint Mary and All Saints stand side by side, about sixty yards apart, separated by the private drive leading up to the Hall. Of All Saints there now remains only a flint tower of 15th century date, almost entirely concealed by ivy; but in the present parish church of Saint Mary we find a singular and early building, much injured by excessive and injudicious restoration. He goes on to mention zig-zag in the arches and a double cone and scallop ornament, a sign of the church being Norman. At the west end are preserved two panels of the 15th century rood screen with a diaper pattern on a red ground and guilding on the spandrils.  Perpendicular windows in the west wall. Cautley wrote: This church has been so much rebuilt that it is difficult to say what is original. I think, myself, it had the unusual nave, central tower and chancel. You will see that the west wall has been rebuilt, shortening the nave and forming a west porch. It has west and north Norman doorways, and I think the Norman tower is mostly original, with engaged columns to angles and arcaded belfry storey. Two lower panels of the 15th century screen remain inscribed and diapered. near Beccles, square tower, 3 bells an apsidal chancel. Much work took place in 1869.