Little Snoring church Photo by Simon Knott
Churches with round towers are unusual: they are found mostly in East Anglia. The Round Tower Churches Society (RTCS) was established in 1973 to help preserve these churches and to explore their origins and history. In its 40 years the Society has made grants of over £150,000 enabling us to support many of the English round tower churches.
Support the Society and enable us to continue to provide grants for these churches. Join yourself or give a year’s membership to a friend- go to Society. For information about recent grants and work in churches visit Grants.
The Society publishes a quarterly magazine, organises visits to round tower churches in the summer months and sets up occasional study days.
Our Facebook page has 900 friends and is accessible through the Facebook badge above. Also nearly 1850 followers on Twitter – press the link: https://twitter.com/RTCSociety
Matlaske visited in August 2017
Information about 2018 tours was sent to members in the most recent edition of The Round Tower. For information about the tours (which include East Lexham) go to http://www.roundtowers.org.uk/church-tours/
The Round Tower. This is the Society’s quarterly Magazine. Copies are available on line a year after they are published. Copies of The Round Tower for Dec 2007, and from 2008 to 2016 are available to download. Go to The Round Tower
The Round Tower, March 2017 is now available on line. It includes articles on Archaeological Exacavations at Hemblington church by Norvic Archaeology, Kerdiston lost Round Tower Church by Richard Harbord, a poem ‘Buildings of England’ by T J Clark, and report on Summer Tours 2016 by Stuart Bowell. Go to The Round Tower
Stephen Hart, a leading authority on round tower churches, long time member and supporter of the Society and author of several books on church architecture died in 2014. For RTCS obituary and information go to Society News. Some of Stephen’s analyses are being uploaded onto the website see Listing Round Tower Churches. They include: Beachamwell, Beeston St Lawrence, Bexwell, East Lexham, Fishley, Fritton St Edmunds, Gayton Thorpe, Haddiscoe, Heckingham, Herringfleet, Morningthorpe, Potter Heigham, Thorpe next Haddiscoe, Welborne and many more ……. including Hales, above, a favourite with many people.
Raise the Alarm Campaign.
The Roof Alarm Scheme was set up in August 2017. Over £250,000 has been allocated to install alarms in churches considered to be particularly vulnerable. The money has been raised from Norfolk Churches Trust, Allchurches Trust and the Round Tower Churches Society working together with the Bishop of Norwich and Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.
News of some churches.
Three intrepid photographers have braved the snow: Wickmere by Jonathan Adams, Gunton by Richard Green and Fishley by Jeremy Dickson, while Michael Cant’s photograph shows Lamarsh in spring glory before the snow.
Herringfleet church is looking for funds for urgent repairs: these include rethatching the nave and porch, removing the external cement render and replacing it with lime render, work to masonry and glass of the east chancel window, as well to the electrical heating and lighting systems. The wonderful east window has been removed to prevent further damage from the winter weather. RTCS are committed to supporting the works in this iconic round towered church.
Thwaite (left) and Merton (middle) had lead stolen from their roofs. RTCS were able to assist with replacement and repairs to the lead at Intwood (right).
In 2016-2017 RTCS paid out five grants totalling £4450 and have outstanding promises of over £8000 to churches where work has yet to start. The churches assisted this year were: Topcroft. £1500 to help resolve a damp problem at the base of the tower; West Dereham. £200 to help rewire the church; Lamarsh. £2000 to help with the removal of old plaster and then to replaster large parts of the tower; Intwood. £250 to help with the refixing of lead flashing to the roof; Gissing. £500 to help with major structural repairs to the vestry and to update the electric and to install heating.
Liz Barrett has sent us a great photo of Gissing (left)- when was it taken? And what were the children doing outside the church? Right- Gissing in the snow.
Lamarsh in Essex (left) and the scaffolding has been removed at East Lexham (centre- great photograph by Jeremy Whigham). At West Lexham (right) render removed from the tower shows the stonework around an early window.
Many thanks to Clippesby who donated a drawing of the church (left) in thanks for our support for their repairs. Vandalism at Shrimpling (centre): For a report http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/rallying_call_to_help_stop_attacks_on_historic_norfolk_church_1_4710411
Threxton have been awarded funding for the development stage of their repair project. RTCS are helping them with a grant.
News from Welborne. An update from Richard Took. The builders arrived on site October 2017 and removed the lead sheeting from the tower roof which was marked with dates and initials of workmen from 1700s. This will be retained and included in the new work. The structural cracks in the tower (some worse than first thought) have been stabilised, the tower is being rebuilt and repointed and the buttress is being rebuilt. The iron weather vane is being repaired and will be re-installed on the new roof. Work was going well but the inclement weather in March 2018 may mean some delays.
For more information about grants and work in churches go to Grants
Bill Goode’s archive is currently held at Lowestoft but is to move soon to Ipswich.
HLF Heritage Lottery Fund. HFL are consulting about the future of their funding. The amount of money they have to allocate is getting less as people buy fewer lottery tickets. The ring fenced funding for churches and other places of worship is coming to an end and churches will be competing with other demands for their support. This is a worry for charities such as ours which are concerned with ensuring the upkeep of churches and the important role they play in the life of their local communities.
Photos from the archives.
Three photos sent to RTCS recently- the first of John Sell Cotman’s graphite and wash sketch of Aylmerton (early 1800’s) and two paintings of Haddiscoe by Sir John Arnesby Brown (1866 – 1955). The artist lived at Haddiscoe and is buried in the churchyard.
Gisleham church. This photo of Holy Trinity, Gisleham was taken around 1953 by Hardwicke Knight, a famous NZ photographer. Thanks to Dave Murray who lives in NZ. He scanned it from a Kodachrome slide in his collection and placed it on the Round Tower Churches Facebook page.
Haveringland church, next to Swannington airfield. The plane is a mosquito. The base of the church has been painted white. For more photos and information go to: http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/RAF-Swannington
Digging Sedgeford: A people’s archaeology has a fascinating chapter about St Mary’s Sedgeford and another – power and piety in Medieval Sedgeford – which considers the evidence for an earlier Saxon church with burials discovered as part of the excavations. Digging Sedgeford is written by the SHARP Team and published by Poppyland Publishing.
Shire Books have recently reprinted: Medieval Church and Churchyard Monuments by Sally Badham. Sally starts her book with the words ‘Churches contain much of the most interesting medieval sculpture in Britain’. The book is a delight with great photos.
Mike Page and Pauline Young have just published ‘More Norfolk Churches from the Air’. This fine collection includes Bessingham, Bradwell and many more Round Tower Churches. All profits from the sale of the book go to cancer charities.
For a great map and information about round tower churches and other religious sites try: www:thetempletrail.com/round-tower-churches-map/
Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales. Registered charity No 267996