CofE Norwich Diocese The Briningham Benefice

St Lawrence's Church, Hunworth

The above picture is a Google Maps virtual tour. You can move around the church, using the mouse, and also go through the door into the churchyard. Click here to see a larger version of this virtual tour, together with some photographs.

St Lawrence Hunworth St Lawrence Hunworth St Lawrence Hunworth

Parts of the building, with its early square tower, date from the 11th Century; but like Stody St. Mary, the building was reconstructed throughout during the 15th Century. These developments led to a church of mainly flint construction in the perpendicular style. The tower itself was raised in height by the addition of the belfry stage and strengthened by the two diagonal buttresses. At this time the tall windows were put in the nave, with the south transept and the south porch also being added.

St Lawrence interior

Although the centre of the village is a little distance away, the call to Christian worship goes out clearly via our remaining bell. It was cast in 1605 at the Norwich Foundry of William & Alice Brend, and it was recast in 1902 in Loughborough (following damage which prevented it being rung at the Coronation of King Edward VII). In the 16th Century there had been three bells in the tower; however two were sold in 1746.

St Lawrence interior

The chancel was rebuilt in 1850, and the lamp hanging in the sanctuary is said to have come from the home of Florence Nightingale. The silver plate Communion Cup, of flagon shape, bears the London date letter for 1567 and a Grasshopper as the maker's mark. The Paten is Norwich Silver of the same date and has the maker's mark, the sun in splendour, for Peter Peterson of Culter's Row. When not in use these are held in a local bank.

A Lady Chapel, a place for private prayer, was mentioned in 1376, and in the south transept you will still see the ancient piscina. behind the font (the place of Christian baptism), the vestry contains a picture of the pool of Bethesda; a place of divine healing (gospel of st. john, chapter 5). Notice the feather in the pool to give the first sign of (miraculous) movement on the water.

Over the centuries of Christian Worship, much care has been put into the upkeep of St. Lawrence's church building, and of its fabric & fittings. Generations of God's people (the church) have faithfully served Him through their regular worship and stewardship of the building. Not least those who, well into their 90s, have now left us with a mission of outreach and maintenance.

St Lawrence exterior

This Christian church is dedicated to Saint Lawrence; whose Patronal festival is held on August 10th. He was one of seven Deacons executed in AD 258 during severe persecution of Christians in Rome by Emperor Decius. According to tradition, when asked to hand over the Church's treasures, he assembled the poor and the sick. He was put to death by being roasted on a grid! This tradition is marked on the south porch doorway. On either side the flint flushwork has the shape of a crown for the martyr (witness) and the upright lines of the gridiron. On the Rector's desk is the gridiron and the palm, to mark the martyr's victory.

That the Living God has been worshipped here for well over 1000 years is reflected in the architectural evidence, with the church building being re-developed throughout its history. During restoration in 1960 workmen discovered an early Saxon double-splay window on the outside south wall of the nave - and it may be compared with similar windows at West Barsham and Shereford.

In the nave, the "new" poppy headed benches arrived with the 1850 interior reconstructions, when the Revd J Bulwer was Rector. He was a notable antiquary, an artist (whose works can be seen at Norwich Castle) and a pupil of John Sell Cotman. The fine Ledger Slab is for Edmund Britiffe (1770) "late paymaster of His Majesty's Exchequer Bills".

St Lawrence

By the north door there is an old print which shows what Hunworth church looked like in 1823. Also here hangs a map dated 1726 showing "the estate of Robert Britiffe, lying in the parishes of "Hunworth, Studday, Holt, Thornage and Briningham" (almost a forerunner of the current Benefice !) On the south wall hangs the two Rector lists, dated from 1301 to the present. The latter was presented in memory of Prof. Hiscocks (1907-1998).

During 1935 Lord Rothermere spent a total of £565 on interior fittings and church furnishings for both Hunworth & Stody churches. These included copies of the BCP as well as the brass altar vase; and the lectern, the eagle from which the Scriptures are read.

Outside in the churchyard, close to the Porch and Tower, you will find two headstones for Francis and Deborah Tavener (1744 & 1758); who were of the same family as Richard Tavener (1505-75) who made the English translation of the Scriptures known as "Tavener's Bible". Opposite the South Porch door the churchyard is reserved as a Wildlife Conservation Area.

For more information about St Lawrence's Church, Hunworth see:
An alternative guide
A plan of the church

Briningham St Maurice Hunworth St Lawrence Swanton Novers St Edmund
Brinton St Andrew Stody St Mary Thornage All Saints

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