Potter Heigham – St. Nicholas’s Church

I still struggle to think of Potter Heigham without linking it to Latham’s and their memorable radio ads, but this church is a little way from there and in a relatively peaceful countryside spot. It dates from the twelfth century, although the nave was substantially remodelled in the early sixteenth century. The round tower has some heritage, probably twelfth century but perhaps as early as the eleventh century, with some Norman elements visible in the main structure of the tower and church.

The chancel is from the thirteenth century and remains thatched, making a curious difference to the leaded nave. And, this is recent, the nave was changed from thatch to lead in the last decade and although I’m sure it was necessary for some technical reason, I can’t say it looks aesthetically particularly pleasing.

The sizeable porch, which has gates from the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

The church’s round tower had an octagonal top added in the fourteenth century, a relatively common regional addition that has been better executed here than in some local churches.

The sizeable and peaceful churchyard, which seems a little bereft of older graves and I do wonder where they’ve gone. It hasn’t always looked in such good repair, when some antiquarians visited it in 1870, they noted “the churchyard looked as if the inhabitants were using it as a place for the cultivation of the rankest weeds”. They also added that the church needed “judicious restoration”, which was a typical Victorian strategy that often caused more damage than good to the buildings.

Getting inside the church isn’t yet possible, although it apparently holds some treasures in the form of medieval wall paintings and a hammer-beam roof of note.