St Michael's Church, Sutton
St Michael's Church, Sutton

The medieval parish church of Sutton is tucked away from the village centre on Church Road, which runs parallel to The Street, the main road through the village. There has been a church here since the early Saxon period, but the present large building dates to the late 12th century, with the addition of a large 14th century west tower. The tower holds a ring of three bells, two of which were cast in 1450 by Richard Brayser.

Very few alterations have been made to the church's exterior since then, and despite the inevitable Victorian restoration St Michael's has been remarkably unchanged since the medieval period. Set into the exterior wall near the porch is a medieval scratch dial, made so the priest could tell what time to say mass in the days before clocks.

The church was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and after the Norman Conquest it was held by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk.

The 14th century font
The 14th-century font

In the nave are very good 17th-century benches with carved poppyhead bench ends. The carving is excellent, and some of the poppyheads date to the 15th century, much earlier than the benches they adorn. Several represent human figures, including a king and a mitred bishop.

There are more 15th-century bench ends in the chancel. And several interesting memorials. The lectern was given in honour of the aeronautics pioneer Captain LL Atherton (d. 1956), and the credence table commemorates Group Captain D. R. Stubbs, a pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain.

The 17th-century pulpit is an excellent example of Jacobean woodwork. The organ dates to 1869. It was made by Corp and Sons for Stalham church and purchased from the vicar of Stalham in 1918.

A 15th century bench end
A 15th-century bench end

In the vestry is wooden chest carved with '1713 Sutton M.P.', presumably commemorating Martin Peascod, who was elected churchwarden in 1713.

The beautifully traceried font in the south aisle dates to the late 13th or early 14th century, the height of the Decorated Gothic period.

I came to Sutton church on a sunny afternoon in May. I found the church open as so many Norfolk churches are. There are not, perhaps, as many exciting historic features as some nearby churches, but St Michael's is a pretty medieval building, in a lovely Norfolk village, with thatched cottages on one side and a farm field on the other.

Just a few minutes east on New Road is Sutton Mill, a picturesque 19th-century windmill.

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About Sutton, St Michael's Church
Address: Church Road, Sutton, Norfolk, England, NR12 9SA
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Near the junction of New Road and Church Road, at the eastern edge of the village. There is a small parking area on Church Road.
Website: Sutton, St Michael's Church
Location map
OS: TG388239
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


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