St Mary’s Church provides a perfect centrepiece for our village. With its Norman arches, stone niches, splendid double hammer beam roof and its fine round tower which dates from at least the 11th century, Gissing Church is described by some as “one of the best in Norfolk”. The Church is loved by locals and admired by architectural historians and with its angel roof has also been described as a ‘faberge egg of a church’.
However, maintaining such a beautiful and historic building is a major financial challenge and although the small congregation works hard to keep the church open for the use and enjoyment of villagers and visitors alike, it costs between £4000 and £5000 a year just to pay the essential bills (electricity, insurance, churchyard maintenance etc) before money for essential repairs and improvements can be considered.
In 2011 the Church was faced with the real possibility of falling into disrepair, consequent disuse and eventually closure. Responding to this challenge a group of residents set up “The Friends of Gissing Church”.
Our Aim as Friends
The aim of this secular group is to assist the Parochial Church Council by finding sufficient money each year to cover the regular maintenance of St Mary’s, not just for the benefit of those who worship there but also for those who want to safeguard this unique part of Gissing’s heritage.
“The Friends” raise money for this purpose in various ways: by annual subscriptions, selling cards in the church itself, and by fund raising at local events such as the annual Summer Barbeque, the Gissing Fete and the St Nicholas Christmas Fayre.
Recently we desperately needed to raise funds to contribute to the essential structural repair of the vestry wall, which had to be temporarily shored up to prevent it from collapsing. Other major areas of work included the rebuilding of the tower parapet, restoration of the Kemp Chapel walls, lead roofs and the installation of a pew heating and far better lighting system. In the longer-term we would hope to raise sufficient monies to improve the facilities in the church, and thereby broaden its use by the whole community including the installation of a toilet and kitchenette.
Our website provides further information on the church itself and the recent restoration as well as events involving this beautiful building.
The Friends look to the community for help - Please join us and help maintain this historic building and keep it open for future generations - head over to our contact page to offer your support