Burgh St. Margaret Church – a brief history
The church structure, including the nave, chancel & South porch, dates from the 14th. century.
This is one of only 53 completely thatched churches in Norfolk.
The South doorway is from the Norman period, with zigzag mouldings in the arch; the so-called Bishop's doorway in the North wall of the nave was reset during restoration using a billet frieze of Norman stonework.
Revd. C. J. Lucas, M.A., carried out extensive restoration work in 1876 at a cost of £1,200. He was Rector of this Parish for 31 years.
In 1900 the tower was repaired and restored, and the 3 ancient bells re-cast and re-hung, by the Rt. Revd. George Carnac Fisher, D.D., of Burgh Hall, as a memorial to his cousin and predecessor as Rector, the Revd. C.J. Lucas.
Bishop Fisher also gave the reredos of white marble and alabaster behind the Altar as a memorial to Mr.T.C.Thompson, his father-in-law.
The East window is modern and depicts St. Luke the Physician, flanked by SS. Margaret & Mary*. It is a memorial to Dr. T.E. Royden, who lived, practiced medicine and was a churchwarden in Fleggburgh for many years.
* The ruins of the Saxon tower of St. Mary's church are situated North of the junction of Tower Road and Main Road.
One of the brightly-painted roof bosses shows the arms of the See of Norwich — 3 gold mitres on an azure ground. Another of the roof bosses bears the Royal Arms.
On the South wall of the chancel there is an ancient brass memorial to John Burton, Rector during the late 16th. century. There is a record of another ancient brass which was in the church bearing the inscription:
Here under lyeth the body of Edward Peake who departed this life 7th. of February 1705 aged 64 years. Who left the poor for ever 24 Penny loaves to be given on the last Sunday in December. Nowadays each child attending the village primary school receives a Penny loaf from this bequest.
On the West wall of the nave are two brasses in memory of former Rectors:
Revd. William Lucas, M.A., who died in 1855 and his eldest son, Revd. William Nelson Lucas, M.A., who died in 1861.
In medieval times the rents from a plot of 2 roods of land, called the Plow Light half-acre, were used to pay for a candle (known as the Plough Light) to be kept burning perpetually in the chancel.
The dormer window above the South door was installed in 1908 to provide better lighting in the gallery, which then contained tiered rows of pews and was open at the front. The pews were removed from the gallery in 1991 and windows installed overlooking the nave to form a small meeting room. At the same time a new bell-ringing chamber was created in the tower at 1st. floor level; prior to this the bells had been rung from the vestry on the ground floor.
The font, of white stone with a marble base, was presented by Miss Fisher in memory of her sister, Miss Edith Fisher. It was dedicated on Sunday, 17th. January 1909, at a special children's service. The children, headed by a drum & fife band, processed from the school to the church.
The first baby to be baptized in the new font was the great-granddaughter of Mr. Charles Shreeve, of this village who, in 1837 served on H.M.S. Asia under the command of Capt. Fisher, R.N., grandfather of the donor of the font.
The War Memorial, fronting Main Road, was erected in 1922 in memory of the men from Burgh St. Margaret and Billockby who died in the Great War (1914 — 1918); the names of those who fell in World War II (1939 — 1945) were added in 1946.
In 1978 the Honour Board on the North wall of the nave was installed to preserve the names of the fallen, since those on the original War Memorial were becoming indistinct due to weathering.