BYLAUGH Population 70
St Mary's Church - Electoral Roll 21
St Mary's Church, Bylaugh, Grade
I listed, owes its present appearance to a Norfolk squire, Sir John Lombe, who rebuilt this little church between 1809 and 1810.
Bylaugh church stands among yew trees very close to the river Wensum and, on rising ground to its North, is recently rebuilt hall that Sir John hoped to build but never did. He died in 1817 and the hall designed by the younger Charles Barry and Robert Richardson Banks, was not begun until 1849, was completed in 1852, and reduced to a ruin in 1950. It is now largely rebuilt. There is a very fine view across the valley from the Hall and from the church.
The northern side of the church faces you at the end of an avenue of ancient yews. It is a single-aisle church - with very shallow transepts, whose gables rise as high as the ridge of the main roof - built against a Norman, perhaps part Saxon, round tower with a 14C octagonal top.
Rows of tall box pews on
either side, becoming larger as they go, stretch towards the transepts, where
under a domed ceiling of plaster are the family pews, presided over by a fine
three-tier pulpit, and warmed by fireplaces in the transept walls.
There are more box pews in the chancel (each with their brass candle sconces) indeed they stretch to within a few feet of the cast iron "Gothic" altar rail. A board behind the altar carries The Lord's Prayer, the Creed and Commandments.
west end there is a small 14C font,
set upon a later support, and there is a Georgian arms
Sir John made provision for a family vault. A faculty he obtained in 1809 gave details of a vault 21ft long, 7ft wide and 6ft deep, occupying the whole of the north transept - a burial place for Sir John Lombe, Bart. of Great Melton, and his heirs.
Every admirer of church architecture should see this little one at Bylaugh - a perfect specimen of the early 19C - which, fortunately, has escaped attention of Victorian restorers.