A visitors guide to the village of Great Walsingham in
Norfolk located under seven miles from the North Norfolk
Coast. One would assume that with the term 'Great'
included in a name that Great Walsingham would be bigger
than its sister Little Walsingham, however this is not
the case. Great Walsingham is significantly
smaller and quieter than its neighbour Little Walsingham,
which is where the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines
Great Walsingham village sits in the vale of the river
Stiffkey and contains a handful of handsome houses, some
with impressive timber frames and others fine Georgian
facades. One building of particular note is the
manor house Berry Hall a private residence which dates
from the 16th century complete with a Saxon moat.
It is worth visiting the pretty 14th century church of
St. Peters, set on a hill overlooking the valley. Inside
the church’s tower are three bells made in Kings Lynn
between 1330 and 1350.There are also particularly ugly
gargoyles, and its worth risking neck ache to see them.
The pews within the church have decorative ends
featuring strange animals, apostles and angels.
There are reference to the Black Death of 1348 contained
within the church, when it is said the entire village of
Great Walsingham upped sticks and moved across the ford.
The seaside resort of Wells-next-the-sea
is four miles away and for provisions, inns and
restaurants Little Walsingham is under 1/2 a mile away.
You can catch The Walsingham to Wells Light Railway at
Little Walsingham for a trip to the seaside, onboard the
longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world.
The nearby village of Thursford is home to the
'Thursford Collection' an attraction of steam organs,
steam locomotives and mighty Wurlitzer. Its annual
Christmas extravaganza a combination of carols
dancing trumpeters marchers and community singing has
world wide appeal.
eastern most buttress of
the church south aisle, is a small round circle with
lines shooting out from a central hole, this is a
scratch dial. A metal or wooden peg known as a gnomon
(Greek indicator) used to be placed inside the hole. The
shadow of which was used when it touched one of the
radiating lines to indicate to the priest that it was
time for Mass.