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St Margaret, Hales

Visiting this astonishing little church, in the middle of open countryside, with no sign of population nearby, you feel a strong sensation that time has stood still. Its round tower, semicircular apse and thatched roof are almost unchanged since it was built in the 12th century. It is an almost perfect Norman church. A truly magnificent doorway leads into the church, with bands of richly carved patterns zigzags, stars and rosettes over the arch. The columns at the side, too, have decorative motifs on their capitals. There is another similar doorway, though less richly carved, in the south wall. Further delights inside include a beautiful octagonal 15th century font, which is carved with angels and Tudor roses in the upper panels. The bowl is supported by more angels, with outspread wings, while eight lions stand below. There are remains of wall paintings on the nave walls, including a painting of St James, holding his pilgrim’s staff, with a delicate band of twining foliage, and opposite, St Christopher carrying the Christ Child.

Details

Dedication: St Margaret

Address: St Margaret's church, Church Lane, Hales, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 6QL

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Opening hours: Open daily; otherwise key holder nearby
Parking facilities: Yes
Toilet facilities: No
Accessibility issues: Grassy path to north door with one small step down into church

OS Ref no: TM 384 962
Directions: 12 miles south east of Norwich, east of the A146 after Loddon bypass
Transport: Limited parking near gate to church.