St Margaret of Antioch isn’t anywhere near Turkey. It is in Worthing. No, not the large seaside town in Sussex, the tiny hamlet in Norfolk. After my trip across to Hoe Common, (see the previous post) I drove Ollie the short distance to Worthing along the tiny back roads. This small community is situated close to North Elmham, the next village along from Beetley on the Holt Road, and where I go to see my doctor.
Just outside the village is this unusual small church. It has a round tower, and is situated in a quiet and peaceful location surrounded by fields. East Anglia is known for churches with round towers, and most of the surviving ones are in Norfolk, which boasts no less than 120 of these appealing structures. The story is that the circular towers were built as a defence against Viking raids in Saxon times, and they were later retained and improved by the Normans, after the 1066 invasion.
The tower of St. Margaret’s is a sad example though, as the top section housing a belfry collapsed in the 18th century,and was never rebuilt. All the photos are large files, and can be clicked on to enlarge further. The detail has been very well retained in these three shots, and you can clearly read the inscription on the headstone in the foreground.
The south doorway was added by the Normans in the 11th century, though the large porch was not built until four hundred years later.
Surrounding the church building is a well-maintained graveyard, still in use. From this angle, it doesn’t look that tidy, but I assure you that it is. I found gravestones from as far back as 1796, and some others where the dates had become too hard to read, as the stone was worn away. There were also three War Graves Commission headstones, of soldiers killed during the 1914-18 war.
Despite being a Sunday, the church was locked, like so many others in this area. I was unable to admire the inside, but I did get a leaflet detailing the history, and notable interior stone carvings. If you are ever in Norfolk, be sure to look out for the round tower churches. Information about them them is available here. http://www.roundtowers.org.uk/