Dereham in Norfolk

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Dereham in Norfolk is an attractive market town. We passed through on our way up to Reepham and we returned on a market day. The market takes place in the middle of the town and has excellent fruit and vegetable and fish stalls, and of course there are numerous cafes where you can enjoy one of the absolutely enormous scones which seem to be characteristic of Norfolk!

St Withburga

Withburga, the daughter of a Saxon king, established a convent with a community of nuns in Dereham in the 8C. She died in 743 and was buried in Dereham but her body was stolen by the monks from Ely in 794. Some say the well in the churchyard sprang up from the site of her grave. This well1 has healing properties and has apparently never run dry. The Danes destroyed the church in 870.

St Withburga in Dereham in Norfolk
A painting of St Withburga on the 15C chancel screen
St Withburga's well in Dereham in Norfolk
St Withburga’s well behind the church of St Nicholas in Dereham

The Church of St Nicholas in Dereham

A new church was built on the site of Withburga’s convent in the 12C, and expanded in the 13C and 14C. The Bell Tower stands apart from the church and dates from early 1500s. During the Napoleonic Wars the tower was a prison, although Dereham in Norfolk is a long way from the site of the Wars. Today the church is a Grade I listed building.2

St Nicholas in Dereham in Norfolk
St Nicholas in Dereham
St Nicholas Church in Dereham in Norfolk
Tower of St Nicholas in Dereham

Inside the church

Every church we visited seemed to have an angel roof, and Dereham in Norfolk was no exception. What a wonderful building! There is an Angel Roof, painted ceilings, Rood, rood screen, and a Seven-Sacrament font.

St Nicholas in Dereham in Norfolk
Looking towards the high altar
Rood screen in St Nicholas in Dereham in Norfolk
The rood screen

Dereham in Norfolk is a delightful town in the centre of Norfolk. Do visit on a Tuesday on Friday if you are in the area because these are the market days.

Sources

  1. https://orthochristian.com/111800.html
  2. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1077067

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