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.

At  the  west  end  there  is  a  small  14C font,  set  upon  a  later  support, and there is a Georgian arms board. 
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. 



See also