St Mary's Church, Snettisham, Norfolk by Rob Topliss

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Snettisham

Snettisham Church (St Mary's) was erected circa 1340 and its stature was evidence of the size and position of the village in that era and, even after the loss of the chancel in 1603, the building still remains a magnificent structure.  Snettisham Church is particularly admirable when viewed from the south-west where you can marvel at its outstanding spire which in times gone by afforded a landmark to mariners navigating The Wash.  The church also provided a model for Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada whose congregation recently contributed to the renovation of the "mother" structure.

From time to time the church, particularly the spire, has needed major repairs, and during recent renovations to the roof, a plaque was uncovered recording that on the occasion of a previous repair in 1806, the then church wardens were Henry Styleman (the local square) and James Lay.  There are (or were) six bells in the tower.  All were inscribed "Thomas Newman made me 1710".  Owing to the condition of the belfry the sound of the bells has not been heard for many years but in 1838 the Church Wardens account showed "paid vergers for coronation of Queen Victoria 8/-".  The Sanctus bell is more than 700 years old.

On 19 January 1915, the first Zeppelin raid over England took place.  Since Snettisham was not then "blacked out" lights could be seen from overhead.  This presented too tempting a target for one airship commander who altered his course as soon as was practicable and released a bomb which narrowly missed the church and fell on soft ground in a nearby pasture with sufficient force to break most of the windows on the south and east sides of St Mary's Church, Snettisham.




Snettisham Village SignSt Mary's Church, Snettisham by Stella GoochSt Mary's Church, Snettisham by Stella Gooch

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