It’s funny but you really have no idea what to expect when you open a church door and I really didn’t expect to find what I did, when I opened the door to this church with its beautifully looked after church yard, even with a designated wild part, in a lovely village.
When you push back that big heavy door and step inside you are greeted with an explosion of colour and a wonderful poster. Its proud to be a messy church, I think its a lovely used church and is used to the full. This lovely messy church is St Mary the Virgin, Heacham. The blue of the chairs just makes the church seem so vibrant and on the hard pews there are soft cushions to sit on and children’s paintings and handmade banners adorn the church walls
The church is built from local Carstone and is used with other stones, it is a soft sandstone which hardens with age and gives it a nice brown colour and is sometimes called ‘honey stone’. The church dates from the 12th century and the belfry has circular openings on each side and indicate its great antiquity. A cupola crown on the top which contains the original 12th century bell, and is possibly the oldest in East Anglia.
If you look at the bottoms of the large piers which are 13th century, there are circular stone seats, such seats pre-date the use of wooden benches in the nave and so the fit and strong stood whilst the weakest went to the wall (this from the little church guide). There are some medieval painting on the tower arch, it took me a long time to find it, but then it is 500 years old and just a bit faded, it does look like there could have been a lot more on the piers and arches. There is some stained glass which is 19th century but the little figures of the saints are 15th century.
I nearly missed the memorial to Princess Pocahontas, who married John Rolfe of Heacham in 1614, which brought peace between the settlers in Virginia and the indigenous Indians. Below it there is an older memorial with a brass plate of 1594 another John Rolfe her father-in-law.
The church tower is eight hundred years old, but in the 1800’s an extraordinary buttress on the north side was considered necessary to support it. Having walk around the church one could not help but noticed that the buttress is having some work carried out, it is interesting to see how they do it.
Heacham has a lovely beach that you can walk for miles and where we often take our dogs for a walk.