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Raising the rafters! Celebration service to mark restoration of Norfolk church’s stunning roof and angels

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:04 13 March 2017

Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

Wings outstretched, suspended between heaven and earth they have served as glorious guardians for more than 500 years.

One of the 138 angels adorning the hammer-beam roof of Knapton Church . 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYOne of the 138 angels adorning the hammer-beam roof of Knapton Church . PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The host of carved and painted angels fly the length of Knapton Church’s breathtaking double hammer-beamed roof.

The future of this medieval masterpiece had been at risk because the south nave roof was leaking badly.

But now the angels have been saved for future generations following the completion of a £374,000 restoration project.

The tower of the church has also been re-built, chancel arch repaired and new toilet and kitchen installed.

Bishop of Lynn The Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick will lead a celebration service at the church, near North Walsham on Saturday from 3pm to mark the completion of the work.

The project was made possible with a £248,000 Heritage Lottery Fund windfall, donations from other bodies including The National Churches Trust, Norfolk Churches Trust and Peterhouse College, Cambridge - plus a generous bequest from former parish priest Roger MacPhee.

Delighted churchwarden Liz Winter said: “The church roof is unique in Europe, with 138 painted angels made of Irish oak and dating from 1503.

“We managed to continue to hold services throughout the restoration work. The congregation were very supportive when all the pews were covered in polythene.”

The church’s collection of medieval grave covers have also been moved into the chancel for display. The earliest date back to the 12th century and others, made from Purbeck stone, from around 1250.

A new church guidebook, children’s trail and website, called Knapton Angels, are also being produced as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund award.

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