St Michael the Archangel Church, Booton, Norfolk
- What's nearby
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 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.
Parking available on lane next to church. There are two small steps into the churchyard and very small step into church.
Facilities & Hire
Due to the historic nature of the building, there is no heating, running water or toilet facilities. The lighting is operated via a motion sensor.
12 miles north-west of Norwich.
Follow Historic Church sign from B1149 Holt Road/ Buxton Road junction and further signs to church
Nearest railway station: Norwich (11.4 miles)
History & Further Information
Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church 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.Norfolk County Guide
This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches we care for in Norfolk. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.
Useful local links: