The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross,
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St Andrew's, Field Dalling
Tour of the Church
All the chancel windows and the Priest's door are in the Decorated style, probably about 1370; (for details of windows please see under Stained Glass). Outside the church, the chancel walls have been refaced in the 20th century with small pieces of flint set in between the larger stones, which is known as galleting, and breaks the monotony of the usual flint layers.
On the N side of the chancel a large blocked archway indicates the site of a former chapel in the perpendicular style, evidenced also by the shafts and polygon capitals of an opening, inside and out. Its foundations have been discovered 18 feet from the chancel wall. Near the archway can be seen signs of a doorway as well.
The church contains a fine collection of oil lamps, some of which are wired for electricity.
The floors are paved with all kinds of tiles; those in the N aisle are most interesting, being very small and with occasional ones glazed, suggestive of late medieval work. The floor is broken in many places, probably through a combination of wear-and-tear, and 'breaking the ground' for the burial of bodies - it cost 6s 8d to do this is Queen Elizabeth I's reign, so only the more prosperous could afford to be buried in church.
The nave is brightly lit by three large 15th century Perpendicular windows on each side of the church. The painted glass in the tracery is what has survived of the original glazing of about 1470.This emphasises the great movement in the 15th century to make Norfolk churches lighter and to use the tracery lights to provide colour, visual teaching and the feeling of being in God's presence and surrounded by heavenly angels and saints. The slender piers are specially designed with a cross section to admit maximum light.
The nave North doorway is 14th century and may have been moved and reset when the North aisle was added.( its east wall rebuilt in brick). The paintings in this watercolour are no longer visible and seem to have been covered by recent whitewash, though traces can still be seen through it. There is a clerestory of two-light Perpendicular windows of which one is blocked. At the West end of the aisle there is a window with a mixture of both Decorated and Perpendicular tracery.
The poppy heads on the benches are mostly 15th century. More benches were added in 1857 and others altered. The N aisle contains some box pews for families. The larger one is 18th century and there were five others like it in the NE corner until the organ was acquired in 1977. The smaller box pews are earlier, probably 17th century. One contains a small seat for children near the pew door.
The Royal Arms are unusual in being painted on a diamond shaped board like a hatchment. They are the arms of the Hanoverian kings:-George I, II or III, which were used from 1714 until the union with Ireland in 1801. These were probably painted early in that period and restored by a London artist in the mid 19th century as can be seen by his signature in the bottom right corner.
The 3 brasses are the earliest monuments and are all inscriptions in latin. The one near the pulpit is dated 1485 and mentions the gift of a silver cross to this church. The other two are in the centre aisle of the nave.
The font stands against a pier and is in such perfect order, that its carvings may well have been recut.
symbols around the
None of these carvings are of the quality to be found in Binham or Cley, where scenes are depicted rather than simply symbols. However a number of other churches in the area have similarly designed fonts, and these obviously reflect the prosperity of the individual churches and their list of priorities.
The Western tower (which is not in line with the nave) is 14th century and like the next door parish, Bale, has diagonal buttresses and Decorated belfry windows. It has a West window which is transitional between Decorated and Perpendicular.
The ring of 5 bells were cast by Thomas Gardiner's bell foundry in Norwich in 1750. These were the last bells to be made in Norwich and the only complete set of Thomas Gardiner's bells to survive intact. They were used for full circle ringing for 185 years until a locally made chiming apparatus was installed in 1935 . In 1985 the bells were retuned and the bellframe was restored. They are now hung for stationary chiming by a modern trigger action apparatus installed by Taylors.
1 3-3-19. 1750 Thomas Gardiner, Norwich
The chancel windows
All the chancel glazing was done in 1859 and 1860 and is mentioned in the churchwardens' book of that time. The East window was paid for by the parishioners in memory of their vicar for 50 years, the Rev. Upjohn and is by William Warrington. It shows the parable of the sower on the left and right lights, with the signs of the 4 evangelists above and below, and the crucifixion in the centre with a pelican above and an Agnus Dei below.
The East window in the neighbouring parish of Gunthorpe is also by Warrington, given in commemoration Canon John Sparle’s son who died at Balaclava in 1854.
On the North and South side there are fine windows of the parable of the Good Samaritan and of The Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
The tracery lights in the nave have much of their original medieval glazing of the period 1460 - 1480, which has been carefully assembled and restored, without any restoration work being done or any missing parts of the windows supplied.
The SE window
The central window
The SW window