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Reedham Saint John the Baptist Church NR18 3UH


Reedham Saint John the Baptist Church, Reedham or Redaham, meaning either homestead by the reeds, or reed meadow. Old English hreod (reed) + either ham (homestead) or hamm (meadow). square west tower, 5 bells, nave, chancel with south aisle or chapel and north porch. The style is a mixture of Decorated and Perpendicular. The roofs are completely thatched. There is evidence of early work in the chancel. There is a fine monument with effigies to Henry Berney, died 1584, and to members of his family, also some brasses. There are other memorials to the Leathes, Reading and Melling families. The church has the curious appearance when you enter it, of having two chancel arches with a small window in them. Of course the great width of the nave (31 feet) shows that the south aisle has been absorbed. Nice 15th century tower with sound holes and curious parapet with disproportionally high merlons. In the Berney Chapel is a simple arch-braced roof and the Berney before mentioned monuments. The chancel weeps slightly to the north and there is some foriegn glass in the windows. All the modern woodwork glistens with varnish. Reedham itself has been a North Sea Port and a battlefield for Romans, Danes, and Saxons. The River Yare runs by its streets and it has a farmhouse with traces of an ancient castle. The church stands high, keeping company with the hall built by Henry Berney in the 16th century. Its 500 year old tower, with huge buttresses, is a familiar landmark across the marshes, in which grow the reeds which gave Reedham its name, see above, an attractive picture they make like a green sea, with windmills dotted here and there. A 15th century porch brings us into a 14th century nave and chancel, with a great span of roof crowning the leaning walls. The interior has an odd effect without an aisle and with big and little chancel arches. There are old horsebox pews round the walls, and the battered bowl of a Norman font lies on the floor. In The Berney chapel, with quaint Bethlehem scenes in the east window and the Twelve Apostles on the roof beams, lies Henry Berney, who gave the altar its Elizabethian chalice. His small sculptered figure kneels in armour facing his wife, five sons in cloaks behind him, four daughters behind her, all nine in ruffs. There were Bernies here in the 14th century, and on a 15th century brass is a portrait of Alicia Berney in gown, wearing mittens and a butterfly headdress. these were the words from Cautley and Messent, then after, on the morning of Thursday 19th march 1981, while restoration work was being carried out on the tower, the church was gutted by fire, leaving only the tower and the curtain walls. The villagers of Reedham decided to rebuild the church on this site rather than in the village centre one mile away, because this place has been resorted to for prayer by countless numbers of people with the same purpose for over 1300 years. Most of the relics and memorials including the font were lost in the fire, but the altar tomb, now restored, of Henry Berney, 1584 and his wife Alice is in the Berney Chapel. The kneeling figures on the tomb show them with their five sons and four daughters, also the arms of Berney, quartering Reedham, Caston and Appleton. The stained glass east windows were designed and made by Sarah Bristow of Norwich in 1999/2000ad. The windows have a theme, this can be viewed by buying a church phamplet, suggested for 50p.  Two hundred and fifty six churches had banners, and in two other former banners had disappeared. The average number in each church is between one and three, here at Reedham there was the prodigious number of fourteen banners, and at Salthouse and West Walton had seven each.

Reedham Saint John the Baptist Church, Postcode: NR18 3UH.
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH
Reedham, Saint John the Baptist, NR18-3UH