Closed for repairs
OS grid reference
This church came into our care in March 2023. We are currently organising repairs. Unfortunately, the church will remain shut while we undertake essential works, but you are welcome to walk around the exterior.
The church was rebuilt in 1839, but it’s unclear how much of the original Norman fabric remains.
South Runcton was recorded in Domesday Book and there may well have been an Anglo-Saxon church on the site before a Norman building — fragments of carved Anglo-Saxon stones have been found at the site.
A sketch by Norwich artist John Sell Cotman shows the ruined church in 1812, its striking zigzag-framed chancel arch partially buried under vegetation, and its apse roofless and open to the elements.
Norwich architect John Brown rebuilt St Andrew’s in a Neo-Norman style in 1839, but the jury is out on how much of the Norman ruin he incorporated into his richly detailed and dignified redesign. Some think he renewed the lot; others think he recut the chevron and billet decoration; some think he retained the bottom section of the arch.
Arch and apse aside, the west front has giant corner pilasters, more zig-zagging, a dog-tooth super-arch and some blind arcading. The south elevation has more arcading, billet-moulding and a corbel table of grotesques.
The northside is remarkable for its relative plainness. No arcading here. Just a stray grotesque or two. And an apsidal vestry with a conical roof that was tacked on in 1858. The vestry carries a date plaque with the cross of St Andrew.
St Andrew’s is a church that rewards patient, careful looking. Notice the bell-cote crowning the gable: it’s a mini triple arch structure that replicates the triple arch detail found along the south elevation.
We adopted St Andrew’s in the spring of 2023 and are currently carrying out essential repairs to this elegant and enigmatic building.