Gorleston – St. Andrew’s Church

There has been a church here since the Saxon period, although the current building primarily dates from between the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries.

The church is relatively sizeable, with aisles on both sides of the building. The church is built with flint and pebbles, with an extensive Victorianisation taking place in 1872, as well as a long-needed repair to the dilapidated thatched roof, which was replaced with slates. There’s a modern-day extension to the building which is used by the parish, but it’s not particularly sensitive and it perhaps disrupts the feel of the churchyard.

The church has put protection up on its windows, I assume due to past problems with vandalism. It’s sad to see a priest’s door with an iron grille up outside of it though, but best to be safe than sorry. On the left is the south porch, which was reconstructed in 1872. If I had visited this church 200 years ago it would have looked probably quite beautiful with its thatched roof, extensive churchyard and medieval feel, but much has changed since then.

The three-stage church tower, which is from the thirteenth century and is quite understated with its relatively small windows.

I have no idea what is going on with the churchyard, but there is some ridiculous spacing going on of the gravestones. Normally, gravestones are vaguely near to each other, but for reasons unknown to me there are sizeable gaps between them all. I can only imagine that someone has been moving them about, or taking some out, unless for centuries they seem to think that the dead are somehow anti-social.

There was a theft here in 1909, when Edward Lighton of 20 Nile Road in the town wrote to the press to report that his books had been stolen from the box where he placed them under one of the pews. Although his box shouldn’t have been there, he found it convenient to store his prayer and hymn books. Not wishing to become a cold case crime detective, I just get the suspicion that another parishioner didn’t like him doing that. Lighton wrote in his letter that “two wrongs don’t make one right, and although I illegally left them, it cannot justify a thief in stealing them”.

The church was open to visitors when I meandered around it, but there was a funeral taking place and so it hardly seemed an appropriate moment to pop inside.