All Saints Church

The church stands on the main road from Diss to Winfarthing. Domesday Book mentions that Shelfanger had a church; but the first known incumbent was one Eudo, Rector in 1272, the last incumbent of Shelfanger as a single benefice was the Rev. A. B. Broadbent, who died in 1962. He and his widow left a sum of money for the restoration of the church, which was carried out in 1965-66. The present church is simple but beautiful. The porch is of timber construction of the 16th century, but there is a Holy Water Stoup to the right of the 14th century North doorway.

The tower is early 14th century work; it contains 6 bells; 5 were retuned in 1974 and hung on a new steel frame; the 6th bell was presented at the same tune, and is inscribed 'In memory of Frederick and Louise Roper'. The font dates from the second half of the 14th century. It is decorated with various motifs. The letters A.B. on the font refer to Adam Bosville, a patron of the Church in the 13th and 14th centuries. Most of the windows in the Nave are perpendicular. At one time the church was partly thatched, but a restoration in 1865 removed the thatch as well as some box-pews, a Singer's Gallery and a 3-decker pulpit.

The Adoration of the Magi Mural

This beautiful mural was discovered during the restoration 1 965-66, a workman removing plaster sensed that there was a hollow recess on the right of the altar, and the plaster was carefully removed, uncovering this lovely painting. It was restored by Miss Eve Baker. The Chancel seems to have been built at about 1300, but some part of it at least must have been earlier. During the 1965-66 restoration, a workman removing plaster discovered recesses on either side of the altar; in the recess on the south side was found a most beautiful mural painting of 'The Adoration of the Magi' dating from 1275 or before. This painting is one of the glories of a very lovely little church, which is lovingly cared for.

The East Window of 1876 is in memory of Albert Smith, who founded the school. Another window, installed in 1899, is in memory of the Rev. Clement Blakelock. The churchyard is tended by local helpers, and a survey of it was made in 1982 by members of the Womens' Institute. The oldest grave to be found was dated 1790 but there were others which may have been older, not possible to read A Church Room was erected in 1912 in Rectory Road. This was used for Sunday School and for a Young Mens' Club and other organisations. Gradually however, it became less used and was eventually sold. Older village people remember Sunday School treats and outings, including horse and carriage trips to Diss, Wingfield Castle, Old Buckenham Hall and East Harling. On another occasion a service was held in Church, then all the children followed the Diss Town Band to the Rectory garden for sports. A village Sunday School continued until 1977; now the Sunday School at Winfarthing is attended by Shelfanger children. The Rectory was sold in 1962, when the parish ceased to have its own rector. ©1984 members of Shelfanger WI see also our Church Today section to see panoramas of the church click here to learn more about the church bells -