St Martin’s Church – Glandford
The ford over the river Glaven, and many years ago the southern end of the tidal estuary that joined the North Sea at Cley.
Though there was a village here at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086), in which it is called “Glanforda”, the present Glandford, with the exception of one farmhouse and a few cottages, is entirely modern, being entirely rebuilt together with the Church at the turn of the present century by the late Sir Alfred Jodrell of Bayfield Hall.
The entire village is part of the Bayfield estate and, with Bayfield and Letheringsett, forms one civil parish. For ecclesiastical purposes, the Parish of Glandford is now part of the united Benefice of Blakeney, Cley, Glandford, Letheringsett and Wiveton. In 1743, until its union with Wiveton in 1922, Glandford was a chapelry of Blakeney, and during the whole of this time the Rectors of Blakeney were in charge of Glandford, together with the distant parish of Cockthorpe and Little Langham, where the church has long since vanished.
Glandford was a chapelry of Blakeney (alias Snitterley) from the earliest times. It is referred to as such in the archdeacon of Norwich’s Visitation Return of 1368, and as Snitesle Glaunford in The Valuation of Norwich in 1254.
Glandford Church “about twenty years past was in decent repair and there was service in it; at present it is in ruins”, wrote Francis Blomefield, the historian of Norfolk, c. 1730, and in ruins it remained until a century and a half later. In 1875 the chancel was partially restored for Sunday services; and in 1882 the burial ground was reopened, having been closed for 142 years.
The work of rebuilding was commenced on 17th October, 1899, and was completed on 30th August, 1906, the whole being the work of Sir Alfred Jodrell as a memorial to his mother, Adela Monckton Jodrell, who died on 23rd September, 1896. The 23rd September in every year is observed at Glandford as the Annual Memorial Day, when a Requiem is said for Sir Alfred himself, his mother, members of his family, all those who have worshipped in this place, and for all the faithful departed.
The rebuilding was a careful restoration of the earlier building, which was mainly thirteenth century with a fifteenth-century arcade and north aisle. Apart from the arcade and some of the masonry in the walls of the nave, chancel and tower, the whole is entirely new work. The dressed stone came from the Northamptonshire quarries at Clipsham, which is similar to the Northamptonshire “Barnack Rag” which was used extensively in Church buildings in East Anglia in the Middle Ages.
The Wood Carving
The elaborately carved woodwork in the nave and chancel is made from local oak and cedar wood, and it would be difficult to find a Lady Altarmore richly furnished interior. Hammerbeam roofs, screen, choir stalls with canopies – everything in fact that would have embellished a great East Anglian Church of the fifteenth century, but packed into a small space.
On the nave roof the angels carved on the hammer beams, as well as those standing in the niches let into the wall posts, are holding shields bearing the instruments of the passion. In the chancel the angels on the hammer beams are holding musical instruments. The roof of the north chapel was copied from the fifteenth-century roof in the south transept of Salle Church, Norfolk, which was also extensively restored by Sir Alfred Jodrell. On the front of the pulpit stand four figures of the four Evangelists. In the nave and chancel are brass candelabra similar to those in Letheringsett Church and brought by Sir Alfred from Italy. The electrically-blown organ is by the Positive Organ Company. It was restored, its front pipes gilded, and moved to its present position in the south transept in 1966.Carved pew
The pew occupied by Sir Alfred Jodrell is the easternmost in the north aisle, near the entrance to the chapel. The bench end, as well as that of the pew just inside the chapel, is more elaborately carved than the others, and represents a dog laying his sorrowful head on his master’s coffin, a design copied from Landseer’s famous picture, “The Shepherd’s Chief Mourner”.
The carvers, Mr. Walter Thompson and Mr. Frank McGinnity, were justifiably proud of their craftsmanship and, as a final touch, carved each others likeness to mark their association with the church. Discerning visitors will notice the faces of the two men carved at either end of the frieze above the pew behind the entrance door — Mr. Thompson’s on the north wall and Mr. McGinnity’s on the west wall.