All Saints with St Mary, Weeting in Norfolk, was a lovely surprise, we had gone to Weeting to explore the remains of the castle. For the last five years, every time we had driven through Weeting and saw the signs for the castle, we kept saying we would visit one day. Last Saturday was that day, we were on our way back home after visiting Ickworth Park and I just suddenly said to long suffering husband turn right, which he did. His answer was…. do you know where we are going….no but I have a feeling….a groan followed.
The route to the castle is through an estate of bungalows, which have been built on the grounds of the once Weeting Hall, demolished in 1954. You then drive up a track to the castle and on the right stands the church, a lovely round tower church to add to my collection. We did visit the castle first and you do get wonderful views of the church from the castle. After spending sometime exploring the remans of the castle, we headed back to the church.
Now at this point I did wonder if I would be disappointed and find the church door locked, so as I kept stopping to take photos, husband went ahead to look at the church. He came back with a smile, as there was a church open sign……quick I said, they could change their minds, as it was getting towards 4pm. The door opened and there were two people inside doing a spot of cleaning. I have read since, that church is very rarely open, as there has been some vandalism carried out in the past, so who can blame them for wanting to keep their church safe. So its possible if someone is there, as in this case, they put out the church open sign. They were quite happy to see me and my husband, who sat on a pew, resting after all the exploring, while I carried on exploring and took my photos.
There is a small guide that tells you about this very delightful church…..that’s fine if you read it while at the church and not wait until you are home and then miss things, which is what happen this time. I should have read at least the first line of the guide…..’some main facts of the history of Weeting and its churches’……its churches, I missed the ruins of a second church, which apparently can still been seen behind some of the bungalows, I will always read at least the first line of a guide from now on.
So a little history……The name Weeting is in the Domesday Book and is from the Anglo-Saxon Weotingas meaning Wet Fields and indicates that there was an Anglo-Saxon original settlement here and further back it was inhabited in prehistoric times. At some point there was also a Priory for Augustinian monks, but this was suppressed in 1525, but the list of Priors ran from 1240 to 1525.
There were formally two churches and as in most cases of the churches being so close together, there is always, as time passes a confusion over their names. But now is seems certain that the present church is St Mary’s. The church of All Saints was built possibly as early of the 11th century, but was destroyed by the fall of its tower soon after 1700. Back to St Mary’s whose original foundations would be of 12th or even 11th century, is of boulder flint , there are various ages in the church, the arcade between the north aisle and nave is 14th century. The roof is mid 1800’s, when the whole church was restored. The lovely tower only dates from 1868, when the original one was demolished, as it was in danger of falling down. Although the church is very Victorian inside, it does have a nice feel to it and who knows if it hadn’t been restored, we might have been exploring a second set of ruins. Which reminds me, we have to go back, as I think there is more to explore in Weeting.