St George, Norwich
St George’s is a splendid, flint-faced church in the heart of Norwich’s Colegate. A church was founded on the site in 1100 but mostly rebuilt in the 1450s, including the addition of the tower in 1459.
Despite its external appearance, St George’s interior is distinctly Georgian, with fixtures and furnishings obtained from churches that had fallen into disuse. The original high box pews were later cut down to their present height in 1899 and were one of the few alterations made by the Victorians.
All the windows, except that of the chancel, are clear, allowing light to flood into the building. The only example of stained glass is unfortunately not in the best of condition and is attributed to a Mr Swan. Dating from 1830, it depicts the figures of Hope, Charity and Faith, and is a copy of a window from New College, Oxford.
Entering the nave you pass under the west gallery which is supported by two wooden, Tuscan columns. On the gallery stands the organ which is the work of George Pyke who, along with his Uncle, was a notable organ builder of the 18th and 19th century. Atop the organ is the golden figure of Apollo, standing in the pose of an archer, and beneath a scene of St George slaying the dragon is rendered in metal.
The church is also home to many beautifully executed memorials, ornamented with round-faced cherubs and skulls. Most impressive is the exquisite effigy of a mourning woman who adorns the memorial of John Herring. Herring was once the sheriff of Norwich and went onto to become mayor in 1799. Nearby to Herring’s memorial lies the terracotta tomb of another sheriff and mayor, Robert Jannys who died in 1530. His tomb was created by one of the Italian craftsmen attracted to this country by King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey and bears Jannys’ initials and merchants mark.
Another memorial of note is that of local artist John Crome, who is also buried in the church. Crome, or ‘Old Crome’ as he was known, was a great landscape painter and a founder of the Norwich Society of Artists.
Above the most westerly window, in the north aisle, is all that is left of a large wall painting which once depicted St Christopher. The painting was obliterated when the position of the window was altered in 1504, leaving behind only the outline of a saint’s head. Further remnants of a later painting can be found to the right of the same window where the wall is painted to create the illusion of a darkly patterned curtain.