From the tallest church tower in Norfolk, at Cromer, to England’s largest parish church at Great Yarmouth, towers line the way – except, at North Walsham, where the tower fell down!
In the 11th and 12th centuries there was a great explosion of church building. The 14th and 15th century saw another round of building, churches were extended, altered, rebuilt and beautified. This came to a sudden end with the onset of the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536.
From 1357 – 1453 the Hundred Years War pitted the royal houses of England and France against each other. From 1455 – 1487 there was the War of the Roses. And all against the background of the Black Death that arrived in Yarmouth in 1348 and broke out again spasmodically for hundreds of years.
On the coast – and it was certainly true of Cromer, until the lighthouse was built in 1699 – church towers, with a beacon lit at night, were a guide for mariners. It was an entirely practical arrangement, but, it also reveals something of the spiritual purpose of the Church. In the 630s and to this day Christianity, has been a guiding light in East Anglia The ubiquity of churches and their towers in the landscape function as a sacrament. They are an outward and visible sign of the omnipresence of a Christ-like God on every step of our journey through life .
Be you a visitor, or Norfolk based, this landscape and the history that underlies it, these churches and this faith are our common heritage.