Church of St Michael the Archangel, Booton, Norfolk

Address: Booton, Norwich, Norfolk, NR10 4NZ
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Open daily, 9.00am - 4.00pm (winter) and 10.00am - 5.00pm (summer)
Keyholder information, accessibility and facilities

A breathtaking church created by a descendant of Pocahontas

This amazingly decorative and extraordinary church was the creation of one man - eccentric clergyman Reverend Whitwell Elwin - a descendant of Pocahontas of Hiawatha fame.

A friend of Charles Darwin, Elwin not only raised the funds for the building, he also designed it – without the help of an architect - borrowing details from other churches throughout the country. Some of his models can be identified; the west doorway was inspired by Glastonbury Abbey, for example, but the slender twin towers which soar over the wide East Anglian landscape and the central pinnacle which looks almost like a minaret, seem to have sprung solely from his imagination.

The result is a masterpiece. Inside, he filled his fairytale creation with angels all modelled on the rector’s young female friends!.The wooden carved angels holding up the roof are the work of James Minns, a well-known master-carver whose carving of a bull’s head is still the emblem on Colman’s Mustard.

The delicately coloured stained glass windows also show angels as a series of musicians with flowing hair and pretty faces. Edwin Lutyens, the distinguished architect who married the daughter of one of Elwin’s oldest friends, said the church was "very naughty but built in the right spirit".

You may love the church; you may be outraged by it, but you cannot remain unmoved by such an exuberant oddity.

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How to find us

To locate this church on a map, click on the 'View on map' link that appears below the address information at the top of the page.

Road directions

12 miles north west of Norwich, off B1145 south east of Reepham and south west of Cawston.

Public transport information

Nearest railway station: Norwich (11.4 miles)

OS Reference No.

TG 123 224

What’s on & news

News

16/07/14 Wendy Leaney impressed the judges with her skillfully sculpted creation made out of homemade lime and elderflower cordial

See more events and news

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Blickling Estate
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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

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Image gallery

Click on images to view larger

Images from Flickr

The CCT is grateful to the Flickr group, Friends of the Churches Conservation Trust, for the images shown here. CCT is not responsible for the quality or content of images taken from Flickr.


Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Useful information

Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church and the CCT before you visit?

You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this church.

 

 

 

 

PDF iconNorfolk County Guide (PDF, 4.9mb)

This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches CCT cares for in Norfolk. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.

Nearby CCT churches

St Faith's Church,  Little Witchingham, Norfolk

St Faith's Church, Little Witchingham, Norfolk Traces of stunning Medieval art Little Witchingham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR9 5PA
See church page

St Nicholas' Church,  Brandiston, Norfolk

St Nicholas' Church, Brandiston, Norfolk A delighful round tower Norman church Brandiston, Norwich, Norfolk, NR10 4PJ
See church page

St Peter's Church,  North Barningham, Norfolk

St Peter's Church, North Barningham, Norfolk A light-filled church with a mystery motif North Barningham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR11 7LB
See church page

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Have you visited this church?

Why not share your experience with us?

Comments

  1. Francis Dunlop (01 Oct 2011, 09:19)

    I live in Norwich, and always take visitors who stay with us to see it. I think it is a triumphant masterpiece, showing that Victorians did not all feel they had to build exactly as they did at some arbitrarily chosen quarter century of the Middle Ages, but as they were inspired by the Gothic buildings they had seen and loved. The stained glass in particular is of a rare excellence, entirely harmonising with the rest of the building. It is a pity that so many of the comments by famous architects and art historians are so grudging. There can be no imperatively given style at any one time which a creative designer has to stick to, on pain of some degree of disapproval.

  2. Tracey Roberts (21 Dec 2011, 10:45)

    I live in Lincoln, and visit Booton Church often. My grandfather Alfred Roberts was caretaker of the church for many years. and was laid to rest there in 1977. every time i go to Booton it feels like i'm home! I have so many happy childhood memories when we used to visit my grandad in school holidays. And my father told me stories of his childhood living in Booton and how he would climb the towers of the church, make a parachute out of a hanky and a comb let it go and run down and try and catch it, and how as children he and his siblings would play tennis in the grounds of the vicarage. If i won the lottery i would love to make Booton my home.

  3. Daisy (29 Mar 2012, 01:19)

    Booton Church is amazing! I have never been inside but from the outside it is just beautiful, I want to get married there one day!!

  4. Viola and David (26 Apr 2012, 03:07)

    In 2007, we my husband and I had our 5th wedding anniversary blessing and service at Booton Church. We fell utterly in love with this outstanding church - but you can't really forget the reason for which it was built, apart from reconstructing a small old 15th century village church. Every time we return to Norfolk - my husband and I live and work in Germany -, a visit there is an absolute must. We sincerely hope it will be there for lots of years to come.

  5. Daniel Andrews (25 May 2012, 20:41)

    I have lived in Norfolk for over 30 years,I didn't know this wonderful place existed,what an experience,I would recommend a visit to anyone,so much to look at inside and out,it well deserves the title of cathedral of the villages,I will be visiting again!

  6. Margaret Osborne (15 Jun 2012, 12:30)

    We visited after a recommendation from Janice at Woodman's Farm (best B+B and self-catering in the area). We were totally unprepared for how magnificent the church is, both inside and out. Breath-taking, even though we had been told about the life-sized angels. Planning to bring my family (from Leicestershire) very soon. I'm not letting them see any pictures beforehand because I want them to get the same wow! as me when they first see it. Also intend to bring as many friends as possible on other occasions. It will be a perfect day out for us. Thankyou for keeping it open.

  7. RICHARD LAW (03 Mar 2013, 10:25)

    I AM A SATALITE NAVAGATION ENTHUSIAST..A NAVY. I WAS VISITING THE BURE VALLEY RAILWAY AND THEN SET MY INSTUMENT TO GO TO WITWELL STATION . I WAS AGAST WHEN I CAME ACCROSS THE CHURCH AND STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OFTHE ROAD ALL OF A FLABBERGAST.. I SHALL RETURN AND SPEND A DAY TO TAKE IT ALL IN...

  8. Sonia (30 Oct 2013, 18:22)

    Does anyone happen to know the telephone number or name of the key holder for this gorgeous church please?

  9. Emma garrod (07 Nov 2013, 20:41)

    How possible would it be to have a wedding here?? Perfect setting, perfect for the kind of wedding we're looking for

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Church of St Michael the Archangel, Booton, Norfolk

Keyholder

If the access information for this church is listed as ‘Keyholder nearby’, this means that the key is kept by one of our invaluable volunteer 'keyholders', who usually live just a short walk from the church and can give visitors the key; sometimes this is a nearby hotel, pub, library, art gallery or other venue. You will find instructions explaining how to get the key when you arrive at the church.

Disabled access

There are two small steps into the churchyard and very small step into church.

Facilities

Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating or running water meaning that they can be cold, and very rarely have toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor. We do apologise for any inconvenience the lack of facilities may cause.