Brunstead – St. Peter’s Church

Although there are some farm buildings by this church, there’s not much else and this is another location that feels just a bit trapped in time. The church feels a little uncared for as well, it needs the foliage taking out of the tower and it doesn’t feel like a building that is much visited. But, it’s easier to feel a connection with the past with structures like this, whereas nearby Stalham church felt a bit too neat and regimented.

The church was originally thatched and the main body of the church dates to the fourteenth century, although the tower is fifteenth-century. The porchway is also contemporary to this period and the niche above the door seems to have been empty for some time.

Incidentally, it’s not clear to me whether this village should be spelt Brumstead or Brunstead, as both seem to be acceptable. However, the village sign near the church says Brunstead and so that’s what I’m going with. Historically, the word Brunstead appears far more than Brumstead, which makes me feel that I’ve made the right choice.

I puzzled over why the church was so full of character and history, other than this end wall at the east of the building. The listed building record explains why, that’s because they pulled the chancel down in the 1820s and sealed that wall off. It seems that the chancel was taken down before it fell down, but it has created something of a disharmony to the building.

The buttressing here isn’t subtle, very much laid into the fabric of the church and it doesn’t fit in very much aesthetically. But, I think it adds great character.

There’s something quite haunting about this church, still proudly standing, although it feels like it needs some support in all senses of the word.

I look forwards to being able to get inside the church in the future and I’m intrigued by a newspaper article from 1867 which talks about the great excitement there was when an old wall painting was discovered which was of the seven deadly sins. There seems no mention of this in the official listed record, so I’m wondering whether this mural has been lost.