St Michael and All Angels in Booton near Reepham is a curious church in Booton, and was one of my favourite churches in North Norfolk. With its twin towers it looks spectacular. However, this is not an old building because the building dates from the 19th century.
The Rev Whitwell Elwin was the Rector of the Church from 1849-1900 and seems to have been an extraordinary man, rather like his church. He inherited the living (!), and he was the Editor of the Conservative Quarterly Review for a number of years.
He designed the church of St Michael’s, without the help of an architect, to replace an earlier building and raised the money to build it. The church includes some walls from the Mediaeval building but it is mostly a ‘fantasy’ created with copies of bits of buildings that Elwin liked, and built between 1876-1900 Today the church1 is redundant and managed by The Churches Conservation Trust. It is available for ‘champing’, i.e. you can camp in the church overnight.
Inside the church
The interior is very simple and the pointed arches lead your eyes to the extraordinary angel roof. Simon Knott’s website has some lovely photographs of the stained glass 2 which was made by Cox Sons and Buckley in the 1890s.3
The Angel Roof
James Minns carved the angels for the hammer beam roof and used the rector’s lady friends as models! The carvings are absolutely enormous and one of the characteristics of this curious church in Booton. Apparently the design of the roof is based on St Botolph’s Church4 in Trunch, Norfolk.
St Michael and All Angels is a curious church in Norfolk and not particularly old, but a church which you should visit. 5
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