Click on the central play button above for a short introduction to the heritage of Ryburgh Church.
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The Church Building:
St. Andrew’s, Great Ryburgh is a cruciform round tower church dating back to the Saxon period before 1066. Both the tower and the church walls provide evidence of the church’s Saxon origins. The transepts were added in the 14th century, as was the octagonal belfry. It is thought to be one of the oldest round towers in the Diocese and visitors are fascinated by the shape of the church, each arm of the cross being almost equal.
The windows were an early part of the Victorian restoration and are the work of William Wailes from the mid-1860s onwards.
At the time of the restoration, the floors were lowered to their original level so as to do justice to the proportions of the building and particularly to the Saxon arch at the West end of the Nave
Sir Ninian Comper reordered the chancel in 1910. Much admired are his scheme for the ceiling with its painted angels and his alabaster reredos of 1912. Comper was responsible for relaying the floor, using original fourteenth century tiles and pamments in the sanctuary and around the font.
The screen of St. Thomas’s Chapel was erected to the memory of those who fell in the First World War. It was entirely the work of Norfolk craftsmen and all but two of the saints depicted are of East Anglian origin. There is a strong impression of colour when you go into the church, the Millennium Project kneelers worked by village residents matching the tones in the stained-glass windows.
The cruciform design of the building gives a feeling of intimacy and it is a wonderful place in which to hold both church and community events. The bells were rehung in 1891 and are now rung regularly and well maintained.
The churchyard wall was built by subscription in 1869 to provide a boundary for the newly extended churchyard, the Rector of the time having given some glebe land to provide additional space for burials.
St.Andrew’s stands at the entrance to the village, close to the bridge over the River Wensum. It is a distinctive feature of a village that is essentially a working community with a maltings, some light industry and a shop that is being retained as a community venture thanks to the initiative of local residents.