TAVERHAM CHURCH

        This is the north view of the church, showing the oldest part. Originally it all was thatched now just the chancel is. This oldest part was built in the eleventh century, and the render on it may be basically original too. The north door of the nave (which appears on the outside, but has been so completely blocked up inside that you cannot see where it was) has the Saxon-Norman round top. The windows are all later. Also of a much later date is the south side of the church. This one aisle was built by the squire in 1863. Before then the church had just had a nave and chancel with no aisles. At the time this enlarged area for worship must have been ample for the village. Today, even with the much reduced church-going population, the church is crammed to bursting point on high days and holy days, even with organ gallery pressed into service. In 1961 both the nave and chancel were thatched, but since then the nave has been tiled.

This church was the site, in the 18th century, of the burial of Elizabeth Anstead (see the blog entitled The Maid of Taverham Mill). You may still read the inscription on her tombstone. The church is dedicated to St Edmund, the royal saint of East Anglia. The parish is also associated with St Walstan, another Anglo-Saxon saint said to be of royal blood. He worked as a simple farm labourer and died a thousand years ago in Taverham, although his shrine is by the well in Bawburgh. St Walstan was revered locally as the patron saint of farm workers. There is an Anglo-Saxon stone cross in the church, and medieval stained glass in celebration of St Edmund.

JOSEPH MASON

FOR THE HISTORY OF EAST ANGLIA

joemasonspage@gmail.com

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