Little Birch, St Mary's Church
Little Birch, St Mary's Church
An intriguing Victorian church entirely paid for out of the pocket of one man, philanthropist Stephen Thackwell, who wa rector at Little Birch in 1869. Thackwell financed the building of a completely new church to replace a decaying medieval building.
Not all was lost from the old church however. The Norman font was saved. This simple font dates to about 1260. Much later, but still of historical interest, are the bier and communion table, both of which date to 1557. There is also a beautiful Victorian wrought iron screen.

The church is built of imported Ham Hill stone, and is laid out on a traditional plan, with a nave, north aisle, chancel, and a bell turret at the west end. There is also a polygonal apse, which is less traditional.

Nearby is the village of Kings Thorn, named for a thorn tree thought to be descended from the famous thorn tree at Glastonbury, which legend associates with Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus.