Unconditional Love: Jonathan and David, Christ and St John, Ruth and Naomi
All Saints, Postwick, Norwich
I believe they call it an Indian Summer, those warm days you often get towards the end of October, and 2016 had a more substantial Indian Summer than most years, although that may well be to do with global warming, I don't know. Postwick, pronounced Pozz-ick, gives its name to one of the Norwich Park & Rides, but the village is away from all that, set in narrow, winding lanes in the gentle hills above the river.
I'd been here before, ten years previously. The keyholders were out then, though they were in today. Back in 2006 it had been on one of those awful grey February days, when the cold and the damp penetrate your clothes, your skin, every aching muscle and most probably your soul. And we were not full of confidence. Postwick is quite literally the thin end of the wedge, the most westerly of a small group of churches that fan out from Norwich towards the coast that are infamous in church exploring circles for being kept locked.
In practice, only a very small number of Norfolk churches are locked during the day, and a fraction of those are locked without a keyholder. The statistics are skewed by this group north of the Yare, south of the railway line. But at least Postwick has a keyholder notice, and in fact the church is now open every Friday.
The great yew tree to the south of the chancel had been felled since my last visit, and part of it lies still in the churchyard, like a surreal giant's pencil. Beyond it, a church that was substantially entirely rebuilt over the course of about fifty years from the late 13th to the early 14th Centuries, and then substantially restored in the late 19th Century, giving it something of an overly crisp appearance.
You step into an interior which is tall, narrow, and almost entirely refurbished by the Victorians. There's not much that's old here - a piscina and sedilia, a late Medieval font looking entirely recut. Like most narrow churches, there is a feeling of clutter. Perhaps the best and most interesting feature of all is a stone relief of St Francis of 1968 by John Skelton, looking very much in the style of his uncle and tutor Eric Gill. The stained glass is decent, a collection by different workshops dating from the 1860s up to one of the turn of the 20th Century which looks as if it might be the work of FC Eden.
Not much excitement then, but there is that atmosphere of a country church that has stayed pretty much the same for over a hundred years, and is worth seeing for that if nothing else. Of course, if that's not enough for you, you might be tempted by a sight of the pulpit, which is set with stones that Mortlock tells us were pilfered from the Holy Land by a 19th century rector. Just make sure you come on a Friday.