St. Margarets Church, Strawless Church celebrated its 750th anniversary in 1994. It is a delightful church in this small village and is normally open to visitors during daylight hours. It contains a wealth of memorials to the Marsham family and others and is well worth a visit
We have many interesting and beautiful things to see (and refreshments for the weary)
The village name of Stratton Strawless means the street, or way, on the heath where no corn grows, but prior to that, the Romans apparently called it Straet-tun meaning “homestead on a Roman road”.
The Tower is thought to have been substantially rebuilt in 1422.
The slate roof was made in 1831 and the timbers rest on a set of 20 corbels with identical heads of a man with his beard in corkscrew curls. Tiles from Roman building can be seen on the outside South wall of the Chancel.
On entering the Church through the great oak door, the Marsham chapel is on your right and then the main entrance to the nave. On your left is the bell tower, which has six bells. There is also a narrow staircase up to the organ loft.
The Marsham Chapel on the South side contains two spectacular memorials.
At the far end Thomas Marsham (d.1638) reclines in his shroud, struggling to rise up because the angel above is sounding the last trumpet call. This is the earliest monument in Norfolk to represent the theme of the Resurrection. Below are some grisly bones, gravediggers tools and the insignia of a high ranking freemason.
On the South wall Henry Marsham (d.1692) kneels with his 12 year old son and his wife Anne who both died in 1678, and also a baby daughter wrapped in swathing bands.
The great brass chandelier in the Nave holds 25 candles which are lit every 4th Sunday for Evensong (normally at 6.00 pm) This chandelier was brought back from Russia by Mr W.J.Birkbeck, and is thought be late 17th or early 18th century.
The Black Abbess, a large stone effigy lying in the NE corner of the Nave, is a woman of mystery. She was found walled up in the tower during the 19th Century renovation. She is holding a heart casket which means her husband died abroad, probably on the crusades.
The Medieval Glass – The main piece is the angel’s head in the 2nd North window, which was considered of such beauty and importance that it was used to advertise the Sainsbury Centre exhibition of Norfolk medieval glass.
The South wall glass includes a delightful round towered church on a shield, paired with another shield with traumatic drawings of the wounds on Christ’s feet, hands and side
The Font is perpendicular, octagonal and highly carved. The bowl bears fleurons, the stem has shafting.
Needlework Volunteers in the village have had fun over the years designing and sewing the kneelers, and the beautiful wall hangings. The altar hangings are also the work of a local star seamstress.
Restoration Work – A lot of restoration work has been done over the last 15 years or so.
The main church was re-roofed, one North window restored, the tower re-pointed, the tower roof renovated. The two large memorials in the Marsham Chapel have been restored, the whole interior of the church re-decorated, and the Victorian floor tiles in the Chancel professionally cleaned and sealed. This work has cost over £250,000 which is why we are delighted to have visitors to enjoy the result.