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Home > St Andrew's Parish Church > A brief history of St Andrews Church

A brief history of St Andrews Church

St Andrew’s Church lies, surrounded by fields, on the eastern edge of the village behind Wickham Hall and slightly away from the main settlement.  Church Lane ends at the churchyard, facing the west tower.

A church in Wickham Skeith is mentioned in Domesday though the current building dates mostly from the 14th century.

The church building is a single aisle construction of nave and chancel with north and south porches (the north porch is now used as a vestry) and a substantial tower.  The walls are of flint rubble with stone dressings and there is good flushwork on the porches and buttresses.

Inside, the nave has a hammerbeam roof in 8 bays with carved bosses at the intersections, all of different design and including a green man.  The wallposts rest on angel corbels.  The chancel arch rests on large corbel heads, a man and woman facing each other, and there are the remains of hoodmoulds with medieval mask stops. 

Most of the windows are of plain glass so the interior of the building is light and bright.  The south-east chancel window has modern glass in very pale colours, a design commemorating St Andrew made and installed in the early 1990s. 

In the nave to the north of the chancel arch is a group of 3 trefoil-headed niches and to the south one broad trefoil niche, the remnant of local Guild altars.

The octagonal stone font, which probably dates from the 15th century, has traceried bowl panels and much-defaced angels and woodwoses on the stem.

The organ is an 18th century chamber organ which was installed in the church in the 1920s. 

There is a simple west gallery, probably of early 19th century origin.

In the tower is a ring of 6 bells hanging on an oak frame which was installed in the 1890s.  The oldest bell dates from 1615 and is listed, the newest was cast in the 1790s,   The bells were removed, repaired, retuned and rehung in 2004.

The churchyard is managed as a conservation habitat with the area around the building and paths between the graves kept close-mown for access.

The church is kept locked because of its relatively isolated position but a notice in the porch gives details of key holders.  Just inside the door hang ‘walk-around’ guides to both the interior and exterior of the building giving details of all the features that can be seen.

A service is held in the church at 9.30am on most Sundays each month.  Details are available on the village and Bacton Benefice websites.