Plans for All Saints Hackford to become a place of reflection

In March, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Mary’s Reepham was successful in gaining a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to work up detailed plans for repairs to the church tower.

Plan of features discovered through a geophysical survey of All Saints Hackford, compared against the 1771 sketch plan of the church made by Thomas Martin

As part of the project, it was also decided it would be a great opportunity to find out more about the enigmatic third church in Reepham’s churchyard, All Saints Hackford.
All Saints was severely damaged in a fire in 1543 and stood as a ruin with a tower until the 1790s, when it was pulled down. The only part of the church still standing is the west wall of the porch.
The aim of the project is to bring back to life this place of worship that would have been important to local people in the medieval period.
To do this, the PCC has developed a “light-touch” scheme to provide some interpretation of the church, which includes a green altar, a sculptural arch made of ironwork showing the entrance to the church, a stone and wood bench, and an information board showing a plan of the church. All these features will draw on the architecture of the standing churches, tying All Saints back into the churchyard.
Excitingly, a geophysical survey was also undertaken to see if the footprint of the old church could be found. The results are fantastic! A number of features have been discovered, including a possible wall footing between the nave and chancel, maybe suggesting the chancel was a later addition.
Lots of people from the local community came along on Saturday 3 October to see the geophysics in progress and find out more about the project, which was met with great enthusiasm.
The next stage, if we get all the permissions from the district council and diocese, will be to do a small amount of archaeological investigation over the wall foundations, and then put in the new sculptural features.
We hope that by the end of the project, All Saints Hackford will be a rejuvenated place of reflection for the whole community.
Natasha Hutcheson

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Dr David Bescoby carrying out a geophysical survey of All Saints Hackford. Photo: John Tym

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