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Rackheath Magna All Saints Church


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Rackheath Magna All Saints Church, as it was known in 12th century, was made redundant in the 1970s and the Norfolk Churches Trust acquired the lease in February 1981.

It was whilst journeying to this church whilst taking a short holiday to cover as many Norfolk Churches I could in 2018, I'd spotted two cars at a distance chatting to each other in a car park down Swash Lane, the lane only made for one vehicle, I continued. I had got around 3/4 way down the lane when the Gold Pick-up truck of the two (the other a black Mercedes) started coming towards me. In hope that he knew a pull in space, I continued. The Gold Pick-up came straight at me, stopped in the road and would not move. I drove up to him, an elderly man with a long goatie beard, and asked if he'd mind backing up. I am disabled and this is not an easy task. He said he wouldn't budge, and I was in fact to reverse. I gave way, the man pressuring me all the time, heavy revving his vehicle. At the end he passed me, and smirked. I went to the church carpark, only to find it full of men sitting around in cars. My day was spoilt and I returned to the holiday venue at Horning. I sincerely hope all other Norfolk folk aren't such idiots.....as I surely don't want to be classed as one.

Rackheath or Racheitha, meaning the first element may be the Old English word for throat (hraca) used in the sense of a gully + hyth (landing place) The name would mean landing place near a gully. Rackheath is 2 miles from the River Bure, but the 1" map shows a tributary of the Bure flowing past the church, and there may have been enough water in early times to form a small harbour away from marshes which border the main river, Magna means (large).

The church itself is full of light thanks to the clear glass. There is a fine thirteenth century arcade and an interesting hexagonal font dating from 1639 which was damaged when the church became redundant. There are also some very fine and elegant memorials to the Pettus and Stracey families. One for Harriet Sarah Sracey 1817 and another for Elizabeth Stracey and Sophia Micklethwaite are by Cushing sculptor. Plus another for Sir Horatio 1730 and Dame Elizabeth Pettus, by J. Chapling, another for Sir Horatio Pettus, Bart 1772 by sculptor Thomas Rawlins. All Saints is signposted with a brown Heritage sign on the Wroxham Road, and continue down Swash Lane NR13 6QT.  It is open during daylight hours, and the Key holder can be contacted on 01603 782044. This was a laugh, there was another sign asking to ring a portable number. But though getting through the Keyholder wouldn't come out until two hours later. Even after explaining I was disabled, could not work by appointments. as often have to return home at the drop of a hat. What a poor show, not a christian thing to do. Chancel, vestry, nave, south aisle, south porch, west tower. Nave c. 1100, chancel and aisle late 13th century, south porch and west tower 15th century. 17th and 18th century. Isolated site, with village !km to south-east; abandoned 1948, new church built in centre of village in 1959. All Saints declared Redundant and leased to Norfolk Churches Trust in 1981.Monuments to the Pettus family,

God repays in many ways.