Photographs of interest to WGMA members
Having heard rumours of a West Gallery in All Saints parish church at
Briston, near Melton Constable, North Norfolk, Gina and I set out to
investigate. There was no gallery, but there was a splendid 'cello, made of zinc
by the village blacksmith, a Mr Clitheroe, together with his manuscript book of
psalm tunes. The book is said to be dated 1699, and the 'cello 1700, but I have
not seen any evidence to support these claims, and would have thought that a
date 100 years later was more believable. Local tune names in the book apparently
include Blowfield, Acle, Reedham, Mancroft and New Norwich.
hand-made tuning pegs are in the bottom of the glass case, and a photocopy of an
article from the Easter Daily Press dated 18/11/1949 is tucked in the strings,
which records the return of the 'cello to Briston. It had recently been
privately owned by someone in the Broadland area, who had removed twelve coats
of wood-grain paint, thus improving the tone considerably! He then built a
trailer to go behind his bicycle, and cycled round the local churches, playing
the 'cello for services. A local shopkeeper told me that it is still played
occasionally. I shall, of course, be investigating both the 'cello and the music
On the way home from Briston, we stopped off at Little Snoring to look at St
Andrew's church with its Saxon tower. I was intrigued by the stepped area at the
West end. The present pews are free-standing, but I wondered if there could have
been box pews here for a West Gallery Quire. What do others think? There was no
mention of the steps in the guide book, and the villager who came to lock up
while we were there had no thoughts on the matter.
Finally, James Merryweather of The York Waits and I have been visiting
various towns and cities to photograph their Waits' chains, and we met up
recently to 'do' Lincoln together. Whilst there, James took me to see the little
thatched church at Ingham, Lincolnshire, (to the north of Lincoln), which has its rood loft more
or less intact. At the West end we found what was described in the guide book as
a 17th century family box pew. We both felt that it looked more like a singers'
pew, so we cleared the artificial Christmas tree and other junk out of it, and
photographed each other standing at the little music desk to the right of the
door. There is a bench running along the back and the left side. Any views or
opinions gratefully received.