|White boar pendant on a chain of suns and roses|
It's a beautiful church that you find with luck and a sat nav tucked away amongst a maze of single track roads buried in deep embankments and cow parsley (so basically very easy to miss) and turns out to have not only the tomb of Ralph and Elizabeth Fitzherbert, but Nicholas Fitzherbert - all of them have very fine effigies. There are also the remains of a couple of carved Saxon crosses which suggest the site had a much earlier church than the one currently standing (the oldest bits of this one date from around 1300), a really bizarre alabaster slab with an incised effigy of a woman in her shroud (it looks like a body in a sack) which represents Benedicta the disgraced wife of a Tudor Fitzherbert (he said she had a vile and lewd character and went off where it pleased her, he clearly didn't please her at all) and some stunning medieval stained glass.
|detail of a Bedesman with a rosary at Sir Ralph's feet|
The tombs are interesting, definitely as good as any I've seen and certainly live up to the claim of being amongst the finest in the country but what I wasn't expecting and was therefore even more impressed by were the windows. So much medieval stained glass has been lost either through being deliberately smashed or just through general wear and tear that seeing a whole lot of it is something of a treat. The Norbury windows are extraordinary, the very helpful church warden said that some pieces were only 2 millimetres thick (English heritage have done a rescue job and double glazed the lot so it's safe) it's survival really is remarkable.
The Norbury church website is here.