All Saints' Church
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Nave & South Aisle
The Pulpit
Medieval Painting
The Tower

A view of All Saints' Church, Tibenham, approaching from The Street up the graveyard path

This page deals with the architecture and history of our beautiful church.   All Saints' Church is not just a building but an active Christian community.  All Saints' Church is a member of the Pilgrim Benefice.  For more details of the Rector and services please visit the Pilgrim Benefice website.  However, services of special note are listed on this website here.

 The largest and most ancient building in the village is the church. The body of the church comprises chancel, nave, south aisle, porch and the tower, which can be seen for miles around.  In Norfolk and Suffolk flint is almost the only material for their great wealth of churches. The stone necessary for doorways, windows and buttresses was carried at great cost and therefore used with strict economy. The combination of the two materials produced a very beautiful ornamentation, known as flush-work.

THE INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH

Arches, on clustered columns, divide the nave and south aisle. The nave roof has the original tie beams which were noted for their stability, while the south aisle is arch braced with beautifully carved spandrels. The chancel and nave belong to the Decorated period of English Gothic architecture (1250 - 1350), the south aisle and tower to the Perpendicular period (1350 - 1550), probably about 1430. The east end of the south aisle at one time constituted the St. Nicholas chapel, and was constructed in the sixteenth century.

The Nave South Aisle

The Nave  

The South Aisle

 

The vestry door is probably the original door from the opening that can be seen at the base of the western face of the tower, where a former doorway has been blocked and a small window inserted. The font, probably dating between 1290 - 1350, is octagonal in shape and supported by a central pier, with eight small windows, each patterned differently. The old style pews, with their fascinating poppy head ends, have been handled by Tibenham parishioners for over 300 years. The high wooden closed box-pews are of the same period and tucked into one adjoining the church door is a small niche called a stoup which held a vessel containing holy water.
Font Pulpit

The Font

The Pulpit

The Jacobean woodwork is a noticeable feature. The sumptuous pulpit is rich in carving, turquoise and gilt, with a back panel and a big tester (top) crowned. There is also a chest with carved medallions and, rarest of all but plainest, is the four sided sloping reading desk. This was once stolen but later recovered, missing the heavy brass ball feet it had. To the side of the pulpit is an arched recess with a very old wall painting, which unfortunately was mutilated by the later widening of the chancel arch. A manís head remains visible and is thought to be a painting of Our Saviour.

On the south side of the chancel there is a curious plain arched sedilla (seats for priests). It has an armrest in such a position that nobody could sit there. On the same wall is a piscina - once used for washing the communion vessels and provided with a drain.
The organ was installed in 1873 but repositioned during restoration work in 1879, to the south aisle, behind the choir stalls. Also in the south aisle, tucked uncomfortably under the roof, is the Buxton family pew. It was licensed in 1635 by Archbishop Laud. Incorporated is part of the rood screen (probably dating from the 12th century). A painted section of the screen can still be seen beneath the eastern end of the Buxton pew. One cannot miss the Buxton Arms and the diamond shaped hatchment (sadly damaged) adorning their pew. Tucked away behind the organ, is the Royal Arms of George I in a carved frame, with a coloured female figure in the broken pediment.

Medieval Picture Coat of Arms
Medieval picture of Our Saviour The Buxton Hatchment, shortly to be restored  Coat of Arms George I

Four old brasses are fixed to the wall of the St. Nicholas chapel: the coat of arms of the Buxton family; one to the memory of Johannes de Buxton, who died in 1572, another to the family of Johannes and the fourth to that of Robert Buxton.  A contemporary plaque has been placed on the northern side of the nave to commemorate the airmen of the 445th Bomb Group who were lost when flying from Tibenham Air Base during WW2.

THE TOWER

The eighty-seven and a half foot tower is climbed via the stair turret, in the south-west corner. There are 12 steps leading to the ringing chamber, another 35 steps to reach a heavily bound and reinforced door, suggesting that this was once the treasury. Inside appears to be the original ringing floor which is covered with puddled clay, for sound insulation. A further 31 steps and you reach the bell chamber, which contains 6 bells in the 500 year old bell frame originally designed to hold only 4 very large bells. It is then possible, with great care, to reach the top of the tower.