The ford over the river Glaven, and many years ago the southern end of the tidal estuary that joined the North Sea at Cley.
Though there was a village here at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086), in which it is called “Glanforda”, the present Glandford, with the exception of one farmhouse and a few cottages, is entirely modern, being entirely rebuilt together with the Church at the turn of the present century by the late Sir Alfred Jodrell of Bayfield Hall.
The entire village is part of the Bayfield estate and, with Bayfield and Letheringsett, forms one civil parish. For ecclesiastical purposes, the Parish of Glandford is now part of the united Benefice of Blakeney, Cley, Glandford, Letheringsett and Wiveton. In 1743, until its union with Wiveton in 1922, Glandford was a chapelry of Blakeney, and during the whole of this time the Rectors of Blakeney were in charge of Glandford, together with the distant parish of Cockthorpe and Little Langham, where the church has long since vanished.
Glandford was a chapelry of Blakeney (alias Snitterley) from the earliest times. It is referred to as such in the archdeacon of Norwich’s Visitation Return of 1368, and as Snitesle Glaunford in The Valuation of Norwich in 1254.
Glandford Church “about twenty years past was in decent repair and there was service in it; at present it is in ruins”, wrote Francis Blomefield, the historian of Norfolk, c. 1730, and in ruins it remained until a century and a half later. In 1875 the chancel was partially restored for Sunday services; and in 1882 the burial ground was reopened, having been closed for 142 years.
The work of rebuilding was commenced on 17th October, 1899, and was completed on 30th August, 1906, the whole being the work of Sir Alfred Jodrell as a memorial to his mother, Adela Monckton Jodrell, who died on 23rd September, 1896. The 23rd September in every year is observed at Glandford as the Annual Memorial Day, when a Requiem is said for Sir Alfred himself, his mother, members of his family, all those who have worshipped in this place, and for all the faithful departed.
The rebuilding was a careful restoration of the earlier building, which was mainly thirteenth century with a fifteenth-century arcade and north aisle. Apart from the arcade and some of the masonry in the walls of the nave, chancel and tower, the whole is entirely new work. The dressed stone came from the Northamptonshire quarries at Clipsham, which is similar to the Northamptonshire “Barnack Rag” which was used extensively in Church buildings in East Anglia in the Middle Ages.
The Wood Carving
The elaborately carved woodwork in the nave and chancel is made from local oak and cedar wood, and it would be difficult to find a Lady Altarmore richly furnished interior. Hammerbeam roofs, screen, choir stalls with canopies – everything in fact that would have embellished a great East Anglian Church of the fifteenth century, but packed into a small space.
On the nave roof the angels carved on the hammer beams, as well as those standing in the niches let into the wall posts, are holding shields bearing the instruments of the passion. In the chancel the angels on the hammer beams are holding musical instruments. The roof of the north chapel was copied from the fifteenth-century roof in the south transept of Salle Church, Norfolk, which was also extensively restored by Sir Alfred Jodrell. On the front of the pulpit stand four figures of the four Evangelists. In the nave and chancel are brass candelabra similar to those in Letheringsett Church and brought by Sir Alfred from Italy. The electrically-blown organ is by the Positive Organ Company. It was restored, its front pipes gilded, and moved to its present position in the south transept in 1966.Carved pew
The pew occupied by Sir Alfred Jodrell is the easternmost in the north aisle, near the entrance to the chapel. The bench end, as well as that of the pew just inside the chapel, is more elaborately carved than the others, and represents a dog laying his sorrowful head on his master’s coffin, a design copied from Landseer’s famous picture, “The Shepherd’s Chief Mourner”.
The carvers, Mr. Walter Thompson and Mr. Frank McGinnity, were justifiably proud of their craftsmanship and, as a final touch, carved each others likeness to mark their association with the church. Discerning visitors will notice the faces of the two men carved at either end of the frieze above the pew behind the entrance door — Mr. Thompson’s on the north wall and Mr. McGinnity’s on the west wall.
One of the most beautiful things at Glandford is the stained glass which came out of the workshops of Kempe and Bryans, the best known studios in that medium in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.East Window by Kempe
The east window is by Kempe, and represents our Lord in glory with the figure of the patron saint, St. Martin, arrayed as Bishop of Tours, on the right and our Lady on the left.
The last window of the north chapel is again by Kempe and represents The Annunciation. Above the figures are pictures of Glandford Church in its ruined state before restoration, and of the ruins of Bayfield Church which still exist alongside Bayfield Hall about a mile away to the South.
All the other windows are designed by Heasman in Bryan’s workshop, and depict as follows:-
- On the south side of the chancel – The Baptism of our Lord.
- In the north chapel – Our Lady in the centre with figures of Justice and Peace on either side.
- In the north aisle – The Three Marys: MaryN Aisle window Cleophas, Mary Magdalene and Mary Salome.
- In the west window of the north aisle – St. Martin dividing his coat with the leper and St. George.
- In the west window of the tower – St. Barbara and St. Christopher.
- In the vestry window – St. Felix, the Apostle to East Anglia (holding a model of Norwich Cathedral) and St. Aidan (holding a model of Lindisfarne Priory). Both the northern and Continental missionary movements in England, represented by St. Aidan and St. Felix, met in East Anglia.
- In the south wall of the nave – Figures of David, the Good Shepherd, and of St. Peter.
- The east and west windows of the north porch are also filled with glass by Heasman representing angels, and above the outer door of the porch is a statue of the patron saint, St. Martin of Tours.
The marble font with representations on the panels of the Seven Sacraments (Holy Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and Extreme Unction – the eighth panel showing the Crucifixion) is a copy of the fifteenth-century seven-sacrament font at Walsoken, near Wisbech, and was made in Florence. The marble angel in the north chapel (in memory of Adela Monckton Jodrell) is the work of Petro Bazzanti of Florence.
In the Tower is a carillon of twelve bells, cast by John Taylor and Co., of Loughborough, on which the clock strikes, and on which hymn tunes are played at noon, three, six and nine o’clock, and so on every three hours. A different tune is played each day.
The tunes of the following hymns are played :-
- “Once in Royal David’s city”
- “Jerusalem on high”
- “On the Resurrection morning”
- “The Saints of God”
- “On the happy Easter morn”
- “Every morning the red sun
- “There is a fountain filled with blood”
Though the whole church was rebuilt and furnished at the sole expense of Sir Alfred Jodrell, by his especial request no monument was erected to his memory except his memorial card which hangs in a frame at the west end of the nave. He died on 15th March, 1929, and lies buried at Letheringsett, where other members of his family are interred.
But it was at Sir Alfred’s request that a monument was erected just inside the vestry door commemorating all those who were actively engaged on the rebuilding of the church. It bears the following names and inscription:-
ST. MARTIN’S CHURCH, GLANDFORD
The Re-Building was commenced on Oct. 17th 1899 and finished on August 30th 1906
The Names below were the persons who took part in the work
|Messrs. Hicks & Charlewood||Architects|
Grant, O Father, that through Thy Help they may both faithfully live, and walk, according to Thy Will in this Life present, and also may be Partakers of Everlasting Glory in the Life to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord.