Morley St Botolph Church
Morley St Botolph Church, with its big square tower, is typical of many churches in this part of Norfolk. The walls are a good two feet thick and are built with flints and lime mortar.
The Church sits high on, what can loosely be described as, “a hill” (this is Norfolk after all !!). It overlooks Morley village and open farmland in all directions – watch the panoramic video taken from the top of the tower.
The chancel is a Victorian re-construction, but the tower and nave are thought to date to between the 13th the 15th centuries.
The original building had a thatched roof, before the church was nearly completely destroyed by fire in 1959. The nave was completely gutted, and the tower turned into a chimney by the inferno.
The Church was left a derelict ruin for several years, but as the graveyard was shared by several villages, the church was eventually renovated. The only real evidence of the fire are the fairly modern pews in the main part of the church. The three bells that hung there were removed and replaced by a single bell which came from St Margaret’s Church in Norwich when it was made redundant in the late 1970s.
(Comments from Newsletter of “The Botolphian”)
More recently, the wire mesh in the tower windows (fitted after the 1959 fire) had corroded and a vast number of pigeons and rooks had taken up residence in the tower. When they tried building a nest in the church clock mechanism, it was decided that enough was enough. The tower now has a new fine stainless-steel mesh fitted, and with the last pigeons escaping though the roof hatch, the bell chamber and clock should be clear birds for many more years.
In 2006 Simon Knott wrote the following comment on
“The rebuilding, when it came, was under the guiding hand of James Fletcher Watson, an architect with a fine eye who is most famous for the rebuilding of Bawdeswell in a Georgian style…….The replacement glass in the nave consists of hand-made panes of stressed clear glass, which creates an interesting effect but makes it almost possible to see though. You can just about make out the light wood favoured by Fletcher Watson, as well as some Victorian furnishings in the chancel. But that's all, and only a notice in the porch gave any indication that this church was still in use.”
It is planned that an Abseil Challenge & Teddy Zipline Challenge will be held (Covid-19 permitting) to raise money to pay for the new mesh in the tower windows and other repairs that are still needed - possibly during the August Bank Holiday 2021.
Follow this link to find out more:
Although the Church is kept locked, the Warden (Roger) lives locally, and will gladly unlock the Church for you – whether it’s just to visit or for private prayer. Click here to email me your name, contact phone number and a short message, and I’ll arrange for him to contact you.
Morley St Peter Church
According to “tradition” the church of St Peter was founded around the year 960. This seems to be incorrect and that the church was actually built as a chapel of ease in the thirteenth century.
The church is situated on a sharp bend in the ancient road to Wicklewood. There is a “Milestone” opposite the Church saying “London 98 Miles” & “14 Miles to Norwich”. There is another milestone in Milestone Lane as well as one in Wicklewood. It is thought they directed Lord Wodehouse’s guests to Kimberley House.
At some time in the past the tower, now topped with a pyramidal roof which has lost its upper stage. The church interior was extensively restored during Victorian times but the font is 16th century.
The modern east window, commemorating the coronation of George VI and Elizabeth II, is by A.L. Wilkinson Link.
St Peter's church houses several memorials to the Graver-Brownes who built Morley Hall Link.
The church is kept locked.