Six hundredth birthday for Wighton Church
The residents of Wighton near Wells next the sea in North Norfolk will be celebrating the 600th birthday of the building of the nave at All Saint’s Church this year, and have marked the event with a four-year restoration project.
Restoration has included preserving the south aisle, porch, nave roof and electrics of the listed church. The initiative has been funded by the Norfolk Churches Trust, the Weston Garfield Foundation, and generous individuals. A huge boost was also given to the project after a grant was announced in June this year, which saw £231,000 awarded to the church by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The building has a chequered history, as one winter night in 1965, the tower collapsed in a storm. Thankfully, it fell away from the church, but there seemed little prospect of it being re-built. The ruins were made tidy, and people went on with their lives. But then something a little unlikely happened. A Canadian engineer and businessman, Leeds Richardson, whose ancestors are buried in the churchyard, offered to pay for the rebuilding of the tower in its exact original form.
In 1976 the brand new tower was topped out and rededicated, this time with six bells instead of one, the extra five coming from a redundant church in Maidstone.
The current building project has seen a pre-1917 nave roof-line discovered in the church’s west wall, as well as a small glass time capsule hidden in the roof by two builders in 1973.
A celebration to mark the building of the church’s nave in 1417 takes place at 11am today (November 1), where residents and visitors are invited to join for a slice of cake.
The photo of Wighton church, along with the information about re-building the tower, is courtesy of Simon Knott at http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk
This story is based on one published by Eastern Daily Press.
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