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.
The last tour of 2018 was on September 1st 2018 from Worthing church. Information about the 2019 tour will be sent to members in The Round Tower in March 2019 and will be on the website after that. For information about 2018 tours see tours and events page. Information about 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 Tours is in Archive
Matlaske visited in August 2017
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 2017 are available to download. Go to The Round Tower
The Round Tower, December 2017 is now available on line. It includes an article on Mass Dials: more questions than answers by Matthew Champion; a report of Summer Tours 2017 Part One; Round Tower Ancestors by Richard Barham; Christmas trees at Haddiscoe St Mary; Threxton awarded HLF grant. 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.
Round Tower Church Society Study Day October 6th 2018 at Stradbroke Community Centre
Wilby Road, Stradbroke, Eye IP21 5JN. Programme included talks about church porches, formation of Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and a tour of Stradbroke church lead by Roy Tricker.
Roy explaining the church, the fine Victorian porch, and angel from the font with three mitres of the Norwich Diocese.
A lecture of interest to RTCS members organised by Norfolk Geological Society. The study of buildings stones: architectural history and geological outreach by Dr Ruth Siddall, University College London.
The study of building stones in the UK has been an active field of study for many years, though academic geologists often regard this topic as one for amateur geologists with little purpose outside outreach activities. This talk aims to take an alternative, architectural and art historical viewpoint and to present some adventures in urban geology. These include studies of Rococo sculpture and East Anglian rubble-built churches, and much in between, to show that a knowledge and understanding of building and sculptural materials has been an essential aspect of our built heritage and cultural histories.
Thursday January 10th 2019, at 7.30pm, in Room 1.01, ZICER Building, University of East Anglia
(For directions to the venue, please see http://www.norfolkgeology.co.uk/lectures.htm)
Grants and Support for churches 2017-2018
RTCS paid out two grants: £500 each to Haddiscoe and to Wissett for work completed in summer 2017. RTCS have promised support for eight other churches totalling £12,500. Some churches have begun their schemes. Herringfleet church is sheathed in plastic with a top hat of corrugated iron while work continues to repair plasterwork and to redecorate and re-lead and conserve the glazing in three windows. At Sustead work on Chancel roof is nearly finished. Threxton is replacing the chancel ceiling. The work at Swainsthorpe is underway and is expected to finish before Christmas.
In addition RTCS supported the work of ‘Raise the Alarm’ to the tune of £2500 to install alarms on some of vulnerable Norfolk round tower churches. Donations were also made to the churches visited by the Society. In 2017-2018 this amounted to £735.
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.
Hales and Heckingham thatched churches appeal. Birds making their nests have removed thatch reeds from the roofs of these churches. This has left gaps for the weather to get in. Churches Conservation Trust who have care of these churches are gathering funds to make the repairs which will be undertaken by Nick Walker, a local thatcher. CCT are nearly halfway to reaching their target. To make a contribution go to www.visitchurches.org.uk/visit/church-listing/st-gregory-heckingham.html
Herringfleet Repairs to stained glass of East Window of St Margaret Herringfleet,. Photo shows Architect Gethin Harvey, and Herringfleet PCC visiting Terry Devlin’s workshop.
Bob Mitchell visited Herringfleet at the end of December 2018 and posted some photographs of the work on line.
News of some churches.
Broomfield Parish Church, Essex. People and Stone. A series of lectures and tours to raise funds to restore the spire. At Church Hall. More lectures to follow.
Feb 16th 2019 2pm Church People- ‘Stories in Monuments’ by Ros Mercer, Alun Powell and Ruth Siddall, UCL.
April 27th 2pm Church Material- ‘A Deep History in Walls’ by Ian and Mercer, GeoEssex.
Tickets £5 at the church or email Trudy – Trudy_stevens@outlook.com
Three intrepid photographers braved the snow early in 2018: 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.
Hardley. Bob Mitchell was out with his drone today (July 2nd 2018) and has sent us three wonderful photographs. To see more of his photographs go to http://www.roundtowerchurches.com
Hales and Heckingham thatched churches appeal. St Margaret’s Hales and St Gregory’s Heckingham are two Churches Conservation Trust churches in Norfolk that share the same problem: the removal of thatch reeds from the roofs by errant birds making their nests has left gaps for the weather to get in. Both churches are tucked away from active communities, but CCT staff have been working with local people to gather funds in order to make the repairs, which are to be carried out by local thatcher Nick Walker. CCT are nearly half way to reaching their target. If you would like to donate to the project, please text ‘HALES’ or ‘HECKHAM’ to 70191 to donate £10, or you can donate via visitchurches.org.uk.
The wonderful east window has been removed to prevent further damage from the winter weather. The twitter page has a photo of work being undertaken on the window.
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).
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.
Welborne’s Fawlty Tower is no more. The work has been completed and Nick Wiggins, RTCS Grants Officer, attended the rededication service in September 2018. A report on the works will be published in The Round Tower December 2018 edition. 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 – 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