ALL SAINTS, BEESTON REGIS
The Church stands in isolation near the cliff tops, a landmark for all to see. From the outside it has no outstanding features, except a tower of an unusual construction for its period. This dates from the late 11th or early 12th centuries. The large majority of Norfolk towers of this period were round, simply because it was easier to build a tower of this shape with local pebbles.
Inside the Church is a little gem, beautifully proportioned and full of interesting features. Many visitors also remark on the peaceful atmosphere, reflecting the more than 900 years of worship and devotion.
The Church tries to be both modern and traditional and a variety of services are offered. In addition to the services listed above we have a traditional Evensong or Songs of Praise on the third Sunday during the summer months. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is used at all services and our hymn book is the Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New.
The Church is under the patronage of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Living was first linked to the Duchy in 1319, but was not formally part of the Lancaster inheritance until the crowning of Henry IV in 1399.
The parish of Beeston Regis was incorporated in the Benefice of Aylmerton, Runton, Beeston Regis and Gresham in 1999.
The Rector and all members of the congregation at this Church hope that you will enjoy your visit to the Church.
THE CHURCH BUILDING
The tower, built in the late 11th or early 12th Century is the earliest part of the Church. The tower arch opening into the nave, and much of the nave and chancel walls come from the l3’ Century.
In the next Century, however, the Church was reconstructed. The existing arcades were inserted into the nave walls, opening into the aisles, which were built at this time. The nave was heightened to include the clerestory. Both the north and the south porches were added. The south porch, through which access to the Church is gained, is paved, quite unusually, with flints. The north porch is now used as a vestry.
In the 15th Century the simple arch brace roof, embellished with shields bearing the instruments of the Passion, was inserted. it was subject to major reconstruction work in 1870. The wall posts are also supported by corbels in the form of stone shields; only half are original. Once quite plain these now bear the emblems of St. Alban, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Cuthbert, The Venerable Beds, St Margaret of Antioch and St Edmund (East Anglian Patron and Martyr).
In Victorian times the Church received much needed restoration, with both the nave and chancel being reseated and the chancel roof raised. Further restoration work was carried out in the mid 20th Century. In 1947 the north aisle was furnished as St George’s Chapel as a memorial to the Fallen of the two World Wars.
In 1949 the south aisle, originally the Lady Chapel, was furnished, the panelling being copied from the design of the Queen Elizabeth pew in Leeds Church, Kent.
In 1951 the tower was carefully restored, with some of the badly weathered coping stones being replaced with modern copies. The old coping stones were used to form the boundary for the Garden of Remembrance.
IN THE CHURCH
The Rood Screen This is perhaps the greatest treasure of the Church. Though much restored it originates from the 15th Century, having been completed in around 1480, and the painted panels date from that period. Like many screens this one suffered from neglect and maybe also deliberate damage in the Reformation, the Puritan era and the anti Gothic art movement in the l8th Century. It is known that the remains of the screen were removed to behind the main altar in 1870. (This can be seen in the photo of the Church circa 1900). It is from that date that the decision was made to restore the rood and screen. Parts that were too badly decayed were cut away, and the panels placed in the heavy Cill. The uprights and arches together with the new oak groin and canopy were reconstructed. All this work carefully copied similar work in other screens. In 1914 it was returned to its proper position across the Chancel arch.
Norfolk screen work is reputed to be the finest in England and the paintings of equally high standard.
The paintings represent the 12 Apostles. These are from left to right:
St Simon Zelotes (with saw and book)
St Matthew (with sword pointing downward)
St James the Less (with club)
St Jude (with boat)
St James the Greater (with book and scallop shell)
St Andrew (with saltire cross)
St Peter (with keys)
St John (with chalice)
St Bartholomew (with knife)
St Matthias (with axe)
St Philip (with loaves)
St Thomas (with spear)
The Altars: The High Altar in the Chancel dates from 1946. It is of carved oak and was given in memory of Richard Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who is listed in the Fallen for the 1939-45 war.
The altar that had stood in the Chance! from 1870 was moved in 1947 to the St George’s Chapel, in the north aisle. In the south aisle is a very fine Elizabethan Communion Table.
Pulpit and Lectern: The pulpit and lectern are both of carved oak and date from 1870.
Bell There is only one bell in the tower now, dating from 1610. There were at one time three other bells but these were sold to pay for repairs in 1765.
Organ The present organ was installed in 1990, coming from St Swithuns Church in Bath. The gallery for the pipes was constructed at this time.
Stained Glass Windows The east window depicting the crucifixion was given in memory of Thomas Wyndham Cremer and dates from 1896. The small window on the south side of the chancel, representing the child Jesus, is in memory of a former Rector, William Bosworth, and that on the north side is in memory of Priscilla Blake. The large window on the south side of the chance!, depicting St James and St John, is in memory of another Rector, Henry Fitch. The Cremer Crest is set in the windows at the east ends of the north and south aisles.
Brasses Some of the brasses are now hidden under the choir stalls. However in the centre of the Chance! is the 16th Century brass figure effigy of John Deynes, showing him with a mariner’s whistle on a cord around his neck, and his wife Katherine. This was once the top of a table tomb.
Stoup Just inside the main entrance, to the right as you come in, is a stoup. Many of these were badly damaged in the Reformation, or in Puritan times, but this one is remarkable in that it is intact.
Chancel: The Communion Rails date from the 17th Century.
The piscina and sedilia on the south side of the Sanctuary are from 15 Century and may have come from Beeston Priory. Originally the window behind was blocked up, but in the 20th Century it was opened and restored. It is a 15th Century perpendicular style window similar to those at the east and west end of the aisles.
Pews The nave pews date from Victorian times, but those in the aisles are possibly as old as the 15th Century, The pew ends were decorated with carved heads, known as poppyhead, thought to be derived from the French word ‘poupée’, puppet or figurehead. These are much worn now!
Other Items of Interest
In 2003 the Choir Vestry at the west end of the north aisle was constructed from Douglas Fir.
By the vestry door is an illuminated vellum list of Rectors.
There is also a display of 1gth Century communion lace.
At the entrance to the stair turret leading to the loft which extends over the Rood Screen, set within the angle of the chancel and north aisle, is a grille commemorating the Coronation of the Queen.
Throughout the pews there are embroidered kneelers completed over the last few years.
In 2002 the teak furniture for the Children's Corner was donated, with the matching two adult chairs near the font donated in 2005, all in memory of Andrew Wright.