Church of St Edmunds, Hunstanton by Stella Gooch

Church of St Edmund, Hunstanton

Today many 19th century town churches are locked for security.  However, St Edmund bucks the trend and is generally open.  Close to the centre of the new Hunstanton, you will find the large Church of St Edmund, an unremarkable, although attractive church.  The Le Strange family paid £3,700 for the building of St Edmund's (roughly £750,000 today).  As was everything else in the Victorian holiday resort of Hunstanton, the Church St Edmund's was very much planned out.  Work began in 1865 and took four years to build.

The architect for St Edmund's was Frederick Preedy, a cousin of the Le Strange family.  Preedy also worked on  several other churches in this part of Norfolk.  Of particular note are Snettisham and Ingoldisthorpe. Preedy also rebuilt Barmer church, in the fields towards Fakenham and as mentioned above, he also restored St Mary the Virgin of Old Hunstanton.

St Edmund's is probably the highest Anglican church in East Anglia next to the shrine located at Walsingham.  Although Church of England denomination, this church oozes piety and devotion more in tune with a Catholic church. The church building feels larger on the inside than out with a colourful interior and the pungent aromas of lilies and incense.

The aisles and clerestory against the nave closely imitates other village churches and the windows are rendered in a Transitional style. The west end is wide and open with stark 19th century benches.  The former west entrance is used as a baptistery. The font is lovely, with lead and brass used around the top as a frieze.

The church's war memorial windows illustrate St Nicholas standing outside the church of St Margaret in Kings Lynn, St Francis standing outside of Blakeney church, and St Christopher crossing the Wash with the very familiar cliffs of Hunstanton behind him. Beneath their feet are ships, fish, and, beneath St Christopher, a delightful scene of 1960s traffic. Just off to one side is a little chapel to Our Lady of Walsingham.

To the east, everything devotional continues to be of the highest quality. A sequence telling the life of St Edmund runs around the windows, starting with a window (by Ninian Comper) showing a young Edmund (aged 14 years) landing in Hunstanton. You will see other windows here including one illustrating Edmund being shown into Heaven by St Felix. However, most of the windows in St Edmunds Church (dating from first half of the 20th century) are by William Lawson. There is also one window by Lawson's son John, who also did the baptistery windows.

The ravages of sea salt air and high winds led to recent restorations to a major stained glass window in this Victorian seaside church. The massive window, standing 5m tall, 4.4m wide and weighing 0.45 tonnes, is a highlight feature of St. Edmunds.  Work was carried out by Fisher•Bullen of Fakenham and Cromer to the glazing areas including complete re-leading, repairs to the stonework casings, forming new lead sills and the quarries were all cleaned, polished and reset.

All in all a wonderful church to visit and explore.

Hunstanton Town Sign Christening font located in lobby entrance to Chapel of Our Lady of Walsingham in  St Edmunds Church, Hunstanton by Stella Gooch Jesus on the Cross in St Edmunds Church, Hunstanton by Stella Gooch Stained Glass Window in St Edmunds Church, Hunstanton by Stella Gooch Plaque inside Chapel of Our Lady of Walsingham in St Edmunds Church, Hunstanton by Stella Gooch

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