St Margaret, Clenchwarton, Norfolk
The villages out here run into each other; West Lynn straggles out, the houses get pleasanter and eventually become Clenchwarton. The road is busy, but off to the south in the bungalow suburbia is St Margaret. Compared with some of the exotica around here, St Margaret is refreshingly conventional - pretty much all of a late 14th/early 15th century piece, and no transepts, separate tower or modern chancel in sight. A mixture of carstone and flint, the church is very attractive; and slightly ramshackle, as if made out of chocolate chip cookies.
As so often when a church is close to the houses it is meant to serve, but is locked without a keyholder notice, you get a sense that here is the Church of England in its last days, a small group of determined worshippers growing older and fewer by the year, defending themselves against the world with increasingly meaningless rituals and perhaps a cynicism about the attitudes and motives of non-believers. One day there'll be hardly any of them left, and the last few will turn out the lights and lock the door behind them for the last time. Thank God that parishes like Clenchwarton are few and far between.
Before the church gets sold off for use as a workshop or a mosque or something, I'd like to see the memorial that Mortlock notes, to Francis Forster, 1741: When the terrible inundation Feb 16 1735 threatened the destruction of this whole Level, He with unshaken resolution, when all around him droop'd under their misery, opposed the Flood, repaired the broken ramparts, and sav'd the land from that fatal ruin with which the next assault must have overwhelm'd it.