The church is located in lovely woodland
The church is located in lovely woodland

The small church of St Andrew stands in a wooded glade beside the classical splendour of 18th century Gunton Hall. Though the house is private, the church is open to visitors.

To reach this delightful secluded spot you have to go up the drive of Gunton Hall, past the imposing front of the house, and park at the entrance to a small glade. A short walk into the trees brings you to a beautiful little Palladian church, the work of famed Georgian architect Robert Adam. Gunton church is the only surviving Adam building in Norfolk, and the only complete Adam church in the country.

Gunton Hall was built by Sir William Harbord in 1740. In 1767 Harbord commissioned Robert Adam, the leading architect of the day, to build a replacement for a medieval church which had been destroyed a few years previously.

Adam created a lovely little church on classical lines, with a large portico supported on circular columns. The interior is a beautifully restrained example of Palladian classical design. There is a coved plasterwork ceiling, and further plasterwork frieze around the nave. This is supported on gilded wooden columns and adorned with gilded capitals.

Here you see some of the beautiful plaster and woodwork which makes Gunton so special
Here you see some of the beautiful plaster and woodwork which makes Gunton so special

In many ways the effect is that of a city church, rather than a tiny rural chapel. There is an organ gallery above the west end, and a marbled sanctuary leading to a lovely altar with a reredos behind. The overal impression of Gunton church is beautiful classical simplicity.

Gunton church is managed by the Churches Conservation Trust, and is open most days.