Detectives bring church to book at Gaywood
Church 'detectives' have been leaving no stone unturned in an ecclesiastical inventory of a West Norfolk church.
These eagle-eyed 'detectives', otherwise known as King's Lynn Church Recorders, have spent the past two years compiling a fascinating and detailed record of the furnishings found inside St Faith's Church at Gaywood.
Now the results of their findings, including two "star treasures" have been put together in a bound volume due to be officially presented to the church during a Sunday morning service on October 10th.
The Record made at St Faith's is the 20th Norfolk church Record that the Lynn group has produced since its formation in 1993. It was completed in 2019 just before the start of the Covid19 pandemic outbreak.
The 20 volunteer recorders are all members of the King's Lynn Arts Society that supports the group.
The group is led by Alison Wakes-Miller who explained that the Record consists of a detailed inventory of everything found inside the Gayton Road Anglican and Methodist Church.
Divided into sections (covering elements including memorials, metalwork,stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings and windows ), each individual item is described, measured, and photographed. As much historical information that can be discovered is also included.
Mrs Wakes-Miller said that in St Faith's the "remarkable' woodwork in the reredos (in the sanctuary) and pulpit is a focal point in the building, with the east window by Powell, all provided by former Rector, the Venerable Harry Radcliffe. Archdeacon Radcliffe was appointed Rector of St Faith's in 1906 and remained in office until retirement in1945. He died four years later on St Faith's Day, October 6, 1949.
Mrs Wakes-Miller said the "star" treasure of St Faith's are the two large so-called Amada paintings on the south aisle wall. These paintings, which underwent expert restoration a few years ago, have featured major exhibitions in this country and overseas, depict the visit by Queen Elizabeth 1 at Tilbury and the discovery of the infamous Gunpowder Plot.
"Working in church is always so interesting and our members, who are really enthusiastic, are not experts but they gradually discover particular interests and develop specialist skills while working alongside like-minded people," said Mrs Wakes-Miller.
"The church is usually the oldest building in a village or town and holds so much history on the people who live and worship there.
She added : "It is our responsibility to record and protect our history and we hope that the St Faith's church Record will be part of that."
St Faith's churchwarden, Chris Ballard, said St Faith's clergy and members thanked the Recorder group for all their many hours of detailed research work compiling the Record book which would be an extremely valuable volume of reference.
Church fabric officer and local historian, Liz James, said the Record would be extremely useful when "statements of significance " were needed for works to be carried out inside the church.
The Church Recorder group is now working on its latest project at Middleton village church each Tuesday morning and visitors would be welcome.
Anyone interested in joining the the Lynn Group is asked to contact Mrs Wakes-Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org