Morston: All Saints, Morston
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Sir Alfred Munnings wrote of the church: “…nowhere could an artist have found a church in a more peaceful setting; a place of repose, a place to dream in.” Famously he was painting a picture of the church on September 3rd, 1939, when Britain declared war on Germany.All Saints Church is a Grade II* listed building and the churchyard contains a Grade II monument to the Butter family dated 1839 in the W of churchyard.All Saints is famous for its commanding aspect, its 1480 rood screen, its 15th century octagonal font (carved with the Evangelists and their emblems), and its lightning-struck (1743) tower and which contains a single bell.. The west wall is probably all that survives of a Saxon church on this site. Parts of the church are 12th century, but it is mainly 13th century. There is also an attractive 17th century stone wall memorial to Susanna Kinges – and there are bats!
All Saints Church, AD 2000 – Christians have worshipped on this site for some 2000 years or morePotted history: In 1087 the principal Manor here belonged to the Bishop of Norwich. Until the 20th century Morston – formerly “Marshtown” - was an agricultural community, but is now a marine community (seal ferries, boats, sailing, fishing, tourist-serving including the award-winning Morston Hall Hotel.The family of Powditch, starting as yeomen trading in wool (see the 2 graves 10 yards east of the porch), prospered here pre-1590-c.1752, then moved to North Creake and Wells, before emigrating all over England, and to Chile, Australia and New Zealand. John Shovell (baptised at Morston 26/6/1625), the father of the famous Admiral Sir Cloudisley Shovell (1650-1707) held land here; and the admiral’s mother & his half-sister, Anne Shorting nee Flaxman, were buried here (1709 & 1734). Another interesting Morstoner was William Buck, Jr., (later to inherit Wiveton Hall), who in 1817 owned an 87-ton brig, Cruizer “of Morston” and issued his own pint drink tokens.
Outside the east window of the church there is a plaque commemorating the world-famous athlete, C.G.Wood (1861-1937), who was brought up at Morston. In 1886 & 1887 he held the English Record for ¼ mile, the French 100 metre and 400 metre Records, the European 220 Yards Record, and World Records for 150 Yards (14.8 secs), 220 Yards (21.6 secs – held for 25 years), & 250 Yards (25.5 secs).
Remarks in church visitors book: “Eerie to see my name on a floor slab”. – M.B, Hellesdon; “Impeccable millennium history board”. – M.S., London; “A lovely memorial to Robert Powditch”. – T.G., Co.Derby. “Our ancestor and brickmaker works on this church in the 1500s”. – M. & J. B. “Tracing ancestors”. – Mrs. C.S. nee Powditch, Northants. “Greater love hath no man…” Morston’s military heroes commemorated here are: 7 who gave their all: Alec Gray, Ldg Seaman, HMS Vanguard, died Scapa Flow 1914 aged 16; John Morris, Ldg Stoker (CG), HMS Hogue, R.N.,died 1914, torpedoed in N. Sea; George J. Balding, Private, 9th (Svc) Battn. Norfolk Regt.,died France of wounds, 1916; Edward G. Balding, Gunner, 11th Regt. RHA (HAC), died 1942 aged 24, Tobruk; Renton P. Walker, Capt, Royal Norfolk Regt., died Delhi, 1943; Fred. C. Starman, Sapper, RE, died off Libya aged 23, torpedoed in SS Yuma. Leslie J. Docking, Petty Officer, MVO, R.N., HMS Avenger. On convoy PQ-18; aged 27 torpedoed off Gibraltar 1942; and the 2 most highly-decorated servicemen: Robert Diamond (“Di”) Jubilee Bean, Sergeant, Norfolk Regt, DSM, MM; and Philip Hamond, Major, Norfolk Regt, DSO (the youngest ever) & Bar, MC, 1918 British Military Mission to USA to teach American Army tank warfare, with Major “Ike” Eisenhower, the future 4-star General & President of the USA).
Morston Church from the crown of the Langham road, lying amid the serried ranks of the harvest fields, each heavy shock of corn bowing to the long shadow, the sun, flinging scarlet streamers up the sky, going down in a dim sea beyond the Point.” ... Lilias Rider Haggard - A Norfolk Notebook, 1938
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