While we were out on Sunday exploring, like a lot of other bodies, due to it being Heritage Open Door Weekend, we were driving along quite happily and suddenly, I nearly caused husband to have an accident….I must stop doing this. Stop…….theres a church….where, said a non too pleased husband, there…..I pointed to a big blob of green. Now the look on my husbands face was to say the least amazed, well I like to think it was amazement, because it was a church, although a green church. We had found the ruins of St Andrews Church in the village of Bircham Tofts. You can enter the ruins via a gap in the hedge, but it was rather over grown, so maybe a visit in the winter months would be better, when there would be more to see.
What remains of this medieval church is the tower and some parts of the nave that may date from the 13th century, with 15th century and then 19th century restoration. The building is flint with dressed stone which is now covered in ivy. It would seem that the church was unroofed in 1952, even though it is a grade 2 listed building.
A few more details….William White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk for 1883 recorded that the parish was small with only 135 inhabitants. The land was mostly owned by the Marquis of Cholmondeley. It described the church as: “A small plain structure consisting only of a nave and a tower containing one bell”.
I would think the church became redundant due to the lack of a congregation, plus no money for the up keep and once unroofed was left to the elements. But I haven’t been able to find out much, perhaps someone might know more about this sad little ruin.