On my recent trip to East Anglia, Mark and Katy-Elizabeth took me to the truly delightful church of St Margaret, Hales, Norfolk. It is no longer in regular use as a church but is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, whose website has this to say:
Visiting this astonishing little church, in the middle of open countryside, with no sign of population nearby, you feel a strong sensation that time has stood still. Its round tower, semicircular apse and thatched roof are almost unchanged since it was built in the 12th century. It is an almost perfect Norman church. A truly magnificent doorway leads into the church, with bands of richly carved pattern: zigzags, stars and rosettes over the arch. The columns at the side, too, have decorative motifs on their capitals. There is another similar doorway, though less richly carved, in the south wall. Further delights inside include a beautiful octagonal 15th century font, which is carved with angels and Tudor roses in the upper panels. The bowl is supported by more angels, with outspread wings, while eight lions stand below. There are remains of wall paintings on the nave walls, including a painting of St James, holding his pilgrim’s staff, with a delicate band of twining foliage, and opposite, St Christopher carrying the Christ Child.It truly is a lovely building, and I was particularly pleased to see that the consecration crosses are still visible, along with remnants of some of the other holy images on the interior of the church.
Here are a few photographs that I was able to take:
The apsidal east end of the church
The magnificent Norman doorway, with detail below
The east end, from floor level (above) and from the gallery (below)