Why are there TWO towers on that church?
Well, there used to be three towers; a big one at this end and two smaller ones at the other end. Except that in those days the one this end used to be in the middle, as it was a much bigger church - an Abbey in fact.
In 1107 William d'Albini, whom we met before at Castle Rising, founded a Benedictine priory on this site. There was a large church and many associated buildings. In 1376 the monks commenced constructing an octagonal tower in the centre of the abbey. It still stands though has been redundant since Henry VIII did away with the monasteries. Then the part of the church which was formerly used by the monks was pulled down, leaving the tower standing aloof but unused. Meanwhile the remaining portion of the building serves as the parish church.
Fine as all this ancient stonework is, I've actually come here to see something much more recent, a work of art that is not without it's critics, but one which you certainly can't ignore. Step inside and take a look.
The eastern end of the church, which was formerly used by the monks, was walled off and the congregation had to stare at a plain wall till in 1913 Sir Ninian Comper was chosen to design this reredos, a decorative screen behind the altar. War interrupted its construction and it was later decided that it should be a memorial to those sacrificed in that senseless slaughter.
All I can do (apart from say "Wow!") is show you some details. If you want to find out who is represented by the various statues then Wymondham Abbey's own website will help.
It had been a typical, grey November day, but as I sat looking up at the richly gilded figures the sun broke through and streamed in through the clerestory windows to illuminate the scene. Perfect. But does this grand building still operate as the parish church of the people of Wymondham.?
You bet it does....
Anyone who reads these posts regularly may remember Robert Kett, who led a rebellion against landowners who enclosed the common lands in 1549. He was a Wymondham man and as I made my way out through the churchyard I happened to see this gravestone...
...one of Kett's descendants presumably.