A BRIEF GUIDE
A more detailed Church Guide is available on the bookstall, and also via the links to the History page on this site.
1. THE NAVE, the main part of the church was built 600 years ago. It is where worshippers gather for Sunday services. Look up and admire the carving of the angels on the hammer beam roof. Detailed description of the Nave and Bells here.
2. THE SEVEN SACRAMENT FONT For 6oo years babies, children and adults have been baptised here and made members of the Christian family. Round the bowl you will see the seven sacraments of the Church depicted – Baptism, Confirmation, Absolution (forgiveness for sin), Ordination of a priest, Holy Matrimony, Holy Communion, Holy Unction (healing) – and the Last Judgment (on the southwest side). More detaiils of the 15th century font here.
3. THE TOWER It is thought that the building of the tower started about 1377 and continued for several decades after that. In 1999 the foundations of a round tower were discovered on the floor of the present tower when the kitchen and toilet were being installed. This was part of the Millennium Project when the six ancient bells were re-hung and the new ringing chamber, meeting rooms and balcony were constructed.
Full description of the Tower and Bells here.
4. THE ORGAN which was built in 1871 is one of the finest to be heard in a country church. More details.
5. The wooden PARISH CHEST is probably older than this church. It was once used for the storage of all the church’s documents and valuables. More details.
6. THE MEDIEAVAL STAINED GLASS WINDOWS are of glass that is 6oo years old. They depict scenes from the Bible and lives of the saints. To be able to see pictures was very important when few people could read. Detailed descriptions here.
7. THE BRASS LECTERN was designed to hold the huge copy of the Authorised ‘King James’ Version of the Bible. Nowadays we read from here, but from a modern version that is smaller and easier to handle.
8. THE PULPIT The Gospel message is preached from here.
9. THE PRAYER CORNER Here, small groups of people gather to pray informally. It was in this part of the church that St Blide is thought to have been buried. Sit here for a while and give thanks for the many skilled people who have made this church so beautiful over many centuries and say a prayer for those near and dear to you. You may wish to light a candle as you pray.
10. THE CHANCEL was rebuilt in the late 1850s. The centre panel of the beautiful stained glass east window depicts Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven at the end of his life on earth.
Look at the exquisite carving on the pews, ceiling and stonework. On the north side is the memorial to the Reverend Jonathan Dawson in the form of an Easter Sepulchre. Full description of the Chancel and Angels here.
11. THE HIGH ALTAR is where Holy Communion is celebrated and where on Sundays we receive the bread and wine that has been consecrated in the way that Jesus did at the Last Supper.
12. THE PORCH A parvise room is situated above the entrance. It is entered from the small door beside the main south doors. This room has had many uses over the centuries but has no fireplace. It is therefore unlikely that anyone lived in it.
13. THE SOUTH DOOR is the original one which has been in use for six centuries. It even has much of its original carving. The lock is original too.
Walk round the church and admire the wonderfully skilled flint work and the splendidly proportioned buttressed tower. Compare the different styles of the setting of the flints on the walls of the main part of the church and of the chancel which was rebuilt in the late 1850s.By the north east corner of the church you will find the grave of ANNA and DAVID HINDERER. They were pioneer missionaries at Ibadan in West Africa between 1849 and 1869.
The former Vicarage is the house near the tower. It was the home of the Vicars of Martham for over 400 years. Study the brick work and notice how many changes have been made over those centuries.