In June we welcomed members of the Norwich branch of the Prayer Book Society to St Mary's for their AGM, a tour of the church, Evensong with the Choir of St Mary's and tea.
The Michaelmas 2016 edition of the Prayer Book Society's national journal, The Prayer Book Today, includes the following appreciative report, which we reproduce here with the permission of the Editor, Canon Andrew Hawes SSC:
The Branch struck gold for the second time this year with our visit to this beautiful church, officially The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, standing in the centre of the market town of Attleborough, a position it has occupied for worship for a considerable time, Saxon foundations having been discovered.
The available church leaflet states ‘You are warmly welcomed to our church’ but this proved to be an understatement in our case. The June edition of the Parish Magazine ‘The Link’ devoted a whole page to the Prayer Book Society, its history and imminent arrival in Attleborough. Members attending included our PBS Regional Trustee, Nicholas Hurst, always a popular visitor. We were given the use of the Church Rooms for our AGM, which was followed by a tour of the church, tea and the most magnificent weekday Sung Evensong. Our hosts were even so kind as to say that it was a treat for them as well to have this special weekday service.
The church itself has so much of interest that space only allows the mention of a few items. The Rood Screen catches the eye immediately, dated around 1500 and stretching across the nave and both side aisles, a width of 52 feet. Above the screen is part of a wall painting, also dated around 1500, and a pair of ancient windows. There is a pulpit with carving attributed to Grinling Gibbons, stained-glass windows of interest, an alms box that would have given trouble even to the Hatton Garden raiders and an ancient coffin lid set in the floor with a cross design in the form of a pair of battle-axes.
The Branch is indebted to so many people for our visit — among them our host, the Revd Matthew Jackson, who conducted the service, and the Revd Richard Stanton, his curate. The organist and choir were excellent. Our guide to the church gave us much valuable information and a smiling lady helper handed out piping hot cups of tea with biscuits. Many thanks to all involved and — for anyone reading this who can visit Attleborough — do look round this lovely church and attend a service if possible.