Today 17/9/2020 I finally left the depressing Fens and Wisbech Cambridsgire forever, I could not cope any longer. It has taken over a year to get the wild thing (motorhome) up to a standard to live full-time off-grid. I am now free to live until I,m longer able to, this is a one-way trip.

Follow Me

St Peter and St Paul's church and local landscapes Sustead Norfolk

Sustead landscape photos Norfolk.

Wrote 21st December 2019

Back to round tower churches HERE
Jump to all PHOTOS HERE
Church Location GOOGLE MAPS

St Peter & St Paul's round tower church Sustead Norfolk

St Peter and St Paul's church Sustead was part of a round tower church photoshoot, it was getting to the end of the day after leaving Little Gresham church a few miles down the road and parking the motorhome for the night in Norfolk can be tricky. I knew Sustead church had a large car park in the field next to the churchyard so I thought it would be an excellent place to park to photograph the church. Anyway, on arrival the views from the carpark were so lovely I decided to stay the night but ended up staying three days and using the car park as a base camp

An after cooking dinner and chilling out I decided to make a start and visit the church, on the first impression its location is lovely, it sits away from the village. It only has one has that is next to the west churchyard and is part of the churchyard. The grounds are full of trees and feel like a perfect place for nature to revive, there are tall trees to the east and north side of the graveyard with Ivy growing up the wall that surrounds the grounds, Ivy to me gives an old world and left to nature feel that I have enjoyed since a child. My naturalist side always kicks in and start to get a sense of what birds and flowers may live here. English churchyards have before a window to the past for plants and flowers, due to the untouched nature of the grounds you will find plants and flowers that may have once grown in the local countryside but due to overfarming may have become extinct, so if you are into nature always to a closer look at the environment within a churchyard.

The church

St Peter & St Paul's round tower church Sustead Norfolk Sustead village, mentioned in the doomsday book, its community is to the east of the church, it runs along the metton road and comprises of farm buildings (converted barn) and cottages showing its agricultural heritage.

The church itself dates from Saxon 11th century times with alteration from Norman’s 14th, 15th Tudor’s, and 19th Victorians.

To my amateur architecture interested eyes, the tower is a standard round type but with possible Norman embattlements that circle the tower and has four Y tracery windows. The charm of most round tower churches is the simplicity of them; they are a far cry from the likes of the giant cathedrals like Ely. The nave shows alteration from the 14th century with the north and south doorways plus the west window in the south porch. The square-headed windows being of the 15th century.

The south windows contain medieval stained glass fragments, depicting angels with musical instruments and St Mary Magdalene and Saint Catherine with a wheel. There are painting by Robert Dombrain in 1865. the pictures came to light recently when an old ironclad chest was opened.

There’s an elegant 15thc octagonal font with carved shields (I need to photograph these) the shields represent local families.

St Peter & St Paul's round tower church Sustead Norfolk The Pulpit dates from the 17th century, it has carved angels in the spandrels, and it came from the now redundant North Barningham church.

The cushions or kneelers ( only recently I learnt about kneelers) a design by a lady called Fiona French, an author of children’s books were all made by local parishioners from 1993 to 1996.

St Peter & St Paul's round tower church Sustead Norfolk The chancel has 14th and 19th-century alteration. The south wall is original 14th century with a double piscina with two windows; The ogee arched piscine (my favourite style of an arch) may date from 1310. There’s a hand drain with a deep trefoil once used by the priest to wash his hands. The chancel roof is of an elaborate design in its green and red colours

The landscape

After a nice walk around the church, it was time to head back to the motorhome. Still, me being me, I spotted a public footpath across the field to the north of the church, so I thought after a drink and a sit down to rest my painful legs I will take a walk.

Sustead landscape photos Norfolk. I could see across the field in a small valley with hedgerows and trees which looked inviting, so off I went on my walk. Walking down the hill and looking back at the church it made for some beautiful church in landscape photos so took a few. Got the bottom of the field and could hear water running and to my surprise, it was a cute stream. It twisted its way through the ground; it was full of life and lined with bushes and trees; it then disappeared into a woodland. It felt if I wasn’t in Norfolk but a much wilder type of place.

Meanwhile back at the motorhome

Sustead landscape photos Norfolk. As night fell the owls started to sing, (something I rarely here back home in the Fens) I sat and through I hope the moon comes out tonight and luckily it did, so off I went again in the dark and wanted to photograph the moon against the church, the moon had a soft light with light clouds, so it wasn’t as strong as I wanted, but still, the church looked great in the dim moonlight and had to take a few stary shots too.

St Peter & St Paul's round tower church Sustead Norfolk After going back to the van and chilled out watching some tv, I thought it would be nice to get some dawn photographs and capture the essence of the countryside in the morning. Sometimes ideas don’t go to plan and I,m not the type who will design a photoshoot, I like to let things happen naturally. Anyway, being parked up, a sunrise shoot was in order and for once month nature gave me what I wanted. The colours at dawn can be stunning without a sunrise, with the damp on the ground making the colour more vibrant makes the shots more interesting. It shows the grounds and church as one, it was like these old buildings were built by nature and not people.

As I used the church car park as a base, I got to see more churches, Metton, Matlaske, Wikmere, Thurgarton and Besssingham. It is peaceful, out of the way and offers lovely views, and it makes for a relaxing time. Wrote 21st December 2019

St Peter and St Paul's church and local landscapes Sustead Norfolk