Two Norfolk churches benefit from grant boost
Two Norfolk churches are among 45 historic places of worship which have benefitted from over £500,000-worth of funding from the National Churches Trust.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the finances of many churches says the Trust and many have been unable to raise money from worshippers, visitors or from the hire of church halls.
With the help of its Friends and supporters, including the Wolfson Foundation, the National Churches Trust is supporting 45 of the UK's historic churches and chapels with money which will help fund repairs, maintenance and the installation of community facilities.
St Mary church, Docking, part of the Anglican Diocese of Norwich has received a £5,000 Cornerstone Grant will help fund toilets at the Grade II* listed church, enabling it to better serve its community.
The oldest visible parts of St Mary’s are in the chancel, which was built shortly before the Black Death in 1348. It is likely that there was a church on the site long before that as the village is named in the Domesday Book and cited in documents written in 1038 by Aelfric, Bishop of Elmham.
The 15th century font is the church’s greatest architectural treasure. It carvings were mutilated at the Reformation possible on the orders of the regents of the boy king Edward VI. Around the stem are eight female saints including St Catherine, St Margaret, St Elizabeth, St Mary and St Apollonias. The latter is the patron saints of dentists and can be identified by the rather large pair of forceps that she holds in her hand. Around the bottom of the bowl are the emblems of the gospel writers St Mark, St Luke, St Matthew and St John, the bull, lion, winged man and eagle.
The Anglican St Catherine’s church, Ludham, has received a £10,000 Cornerstone Grant to help fund the installation of kitchen and toilets at the Grade I listed church, enabling it to better serve its community.
St Catherine's church is a fine and large building standing in the very centre of its village, reflecting the former wealth of the population. It is built of flint with limestone dressings and consists of a 14th century Decorated style west tower and chancel and 15th century nave and aisles in a Perpendicular style. It replaced an older smaller and far less impressive chapel.
St Catherine’s has a number of special features. An unusual 15th century decorated octagonal stone font featuring two ranks of figures below the bowl, a fine oak hammer beam roof dating from 1466, the chancel arch with its carved capitals of grotesques and seaweed foliage and a rare Royal arms of Elizabeth I. More spectacular is one of the finest rood screens in Norfolk, dating to 1493 and thought likely to be unique in the Church of England.
Pictured above is St Catherine’s church, Ludham. Picture courtesy of the church.