The ruins of old churches seldom fail to catch my attention; I just have to investigate, even if it means a wade through waist-high nettles and a tangle of brambles. They exude a sense of Dark Gothic as if a nest of demons might lurk within. They evoke an earlier age, with images of the plague and endemic superstitions.
Most English ruins were Saxon foundations; in Norfolk rebuilt and embellished on the profits of the local wool and cloth industry in styles reflective of passing fashions, the latest being ‘Late Perpendicular’, a style favoured by the early Tudors. The ensuing Reformation saw the demise of these richly ornamented churches and a widespread replacement by the clean lines of the Puritan movement.
St Peter’s at North Burlingham, set a mere stretch east of its neighbour, St Andrews, is unusual in that its abandonment dates to the last century. Its round tower collapsed into the nave, one night in 1906. Temporary repairs failed to stem further deterioration; in 1936 its congregation moved to the neighbouring church.