A walk through Horstead, Coltishall, Great Hautbois and Belaugh
This 11th-century church has: Saxon windows, re-used Roman bricks, a 13th-century extension, a late medieval tower, a thatched roof, a peal of bells and brightly coloured hand-made kneelers.
One can trace the outline of the Saxon church in the flint work of the north wall. Not far from the left of the porch seen from the road is a vertical line of Roman bricks that marks its east end. High up under the eves are two round, wind-eye, originally unglazed, windows. The original church must have been quite small and dark inside.
Belaugh is about a mile away, a pleasant ramble across the meadows. From the far (east) side of Coltishall Common walk down Anchor Street to the end and then take the footpath over the fields. You can’t miss the church. It sits high on a hill overlooking the river and has its own mooring.
The late medieval rood screen of this 12th-century building is amazing: maybe more interesting for the damage done to it by “a godly trooper from Hobbis “(Hautbois) in Oliver Cromwell’s day!
In the early summer the churchyard is full of wild flowers. At any time of year there is an atmosphere of deep peace and tranquillity!
The church is a Victorian rebuild on an ancient site. The 14th-century tower and north wall are original and the south door, porch and font are recycled from the old building. It has wonderful stained glass.
Best of all is the wild flower-rich churchyard. Follow the path through the churchyard, turn right onto the river bank, then back to Church Common.
St Mary (St Theobald), Great Hautbois
A track leads from the road to this 11th-century, round-towered church. Now a ruin, it was once busy with pilgrims on their way to Walsingham and Bromholm Priory.
Hautbois Castle, to the south of the church, guarded the ford that crossed the river close by. Not much remains of the castle, just a mound and moat glimpsed through the trees to the south of the church.
Before the Reformation the church was famous for a wonder working image of St Theobald. No longer used for services, it remains a holy place – somewhere set apart, “where prayer has been valid”! In Spring “a host of golden daffodils “ trumpet Christ’s victory over death!