Tuttington church is so familiar to us all in the village that we barely give it a thought as we pass by its nearly 1000 year old round tower. Round-towered churches are relatively common in Norfolk but extremely rare outside of our county. So from an architectural standpoint, they have national significance.
But, to discover that all is not well with our venerable flint tower is more than a little worrisome. Careful inspection reveals several cracks and bulges which will soon require some serious money to fix – or we just might wake up one morning to see large chunks of broken tower crumbling to the ground.
And that’s not all. Inside the tower, much of the timberwork that holds up the bell and its frame, and supports the roof on which the spire sits has been fodder for that music hall joke, the death watch beetle. Access to the upper floors including the silence chamber (this moderates the bell sounding too loud for the bell ringer below), the bell frame and the roof is now unsafe.
These are not the only problems for Tuttington church with a long list of repairs needed to prevent water ingress from damaging the nave and chancel, repairs to the windows and their surrounds, parapets, tiles, brickwork…the list goes on. Altogether the spiralling costs are heading into the six-figure bracket. But coming to the rescue are a team of Tuttington Church Friends who are looking at ways to fund the necessary repairs.
The Church Friends group recognise the problem not only because the church is of architectural and devotional importance, but it is the only community building we have in Tuttington. And some exciting new ideas to create a Village Room at the church for all the community can only go ahead once the urgent repairs have been completed.
On Thursday 23rd May, a group of 8 experts from Norwich Cathedral came to look at the church with the Tuttington Church Friends group to advise on funding and re-configuring the building to open it up to the whole community to use as a meeting place. They provided some very useful pointers at the start of the journey so let’s hope the changes can soon be rung not only in the tower.