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Saints Alive!

Saints Alive – a country church is trying to identify a number of Norfolk Saints featured on a highly colourful Victorian window. 

All Saints Church, Great Melton, has a fascinating history that church members are hoping to bring to a wider audience, starting with details of the six Norfolk Saints featured on the stained glass of the East window. 

St Edmund has already been identified but some of the other saints are slightly more obscure. “We would very much like to fully identify them and produce some leaflets and a poster for visitors to the church to help promote the church’s standing in the local community,” said churchwarden Maggie Murrell. 

The East Window is made from Victorian glass and dated 1876. It was erected in memory of rector Charles Eyres who spent 25 years in the parish. It is thought that the window was made in London. It clearly depicts six Norfolk saints around the cross in the scene of the crucifixion. 

All Saints Church has an unusual shape, appearing almost like a private dwelling or institution when viewed from the back. It is part of the village’s fascinating religious history. Next to the existing church and in the same grounds are the ruins of St Mary’s Church. Although the two churches stood next to each other, they served separate manors until they were brought together in the early 18th Century. All Saints was abandoned around 1710 with its congregation worshipping in St Mary’s until this became dilapidated. 

In 1882 All Saints was restored and St Mary’s was abandoned and partially demolished. Some of the materials from St Mary’s were used in the renovation of All Saints. Today only the tower of St Mary’s remains as a Grade Two listed building. Ironically All Saints is itself built on the site of a ruin of which the 15th century tower survives as part of the modern day church. 

Inside the present church there have been some subtle improvements over the past couple of years. There is a new alter cover, made by craftspeople from St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich. The Mothers’ Union banner has also been renovated by embroiderers from St John’s and has been dedicated to church stalwart and warden Phyllis Curson as part of her 80th birthday celebrations. 

Anyone with information on the Norfolk Saints depicted in the window can contact Maggie Murrell on 01953 602185.


Click on the photographs to enlarge them.