Congham Church History

There were at one time three parish churches in Congham; St Mary's, All Hallows' and St Andrew's, sited in a perfectly straight line. Only St Andrew's now stands.

All Saints Church was abandoned about 1550 and St Mary's, also known as St Anne's, was closed soon afterwards.

All Saints had apparently been suffering economic hardship for some time and, in the sixteenth century, members gave this account:
St Andrew's Church, Congham. Robert Ladbrooke 1800's.

" Of anncyente tyme there have ben and lately weare two churhces eche of them with a steple and channcell in ether of the said parishes of Congham St Andrewes and Congham St Maryes but onely a chappell withowte steple or channcell in Congham All Sayntes...theer is verye lyttle arrable lande within the said pishe of All Sayntes and that the parishners of Congham All Saynts have allwayes ben and yet be fewer and poorer than the parsihners within either of the other two parishes."

 

Thus, as in so many other hamlets and villages, a small Church was abandoned and worship continued eleswhere.

St Andrews, then, remains. The building dates from the early C13th but has been extensively restored. Early records include a Bishop's Licence granted in 1487 to allow fund raising for
restoration following damage by a lightning strike. Further restoration took place in the Victorian period.

 

 

 

 



The nave and chancel, of the same width suggesting a early date, have a fine barrel vaulted roof.

 

 

 

The bowl of the font is of Purbeck marble and dates from
C13th century although the base was renewed in 1864. The Reredos and pulpit came from the Royal Carving Workshop at Sandringham in about 1864.

 

Sir Henry Spelman, C17th antiquarian and his son, an explorer and settler, came from Congham and members of the family are buried here. Two members of Lord Nelson's family, his father's first cousin Edmund and a second cousin James were Rectors at Congham in the C18th.

One other thing we do know is that the church was/is linked to the (old) Rectory by an underground tunnel, which it would be fascinating to excavate but it's full of water!

 

 


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