St Simon & St Jude


St Simon & St Jude Church - (photo E M Trendell ARPS)

The twin dedication of St Simon and St Jude is to two Apostles who, according to some accounts, preached the gospel in Persia and were martyred. A church almost certainly stood on this site before the Norman Conquest of 1066.
After becoming redundant, the church was used by the Scouts until 1997.


The Trust has carried out repairs to roofs, flint work, stonework, glazing and gutter. The Trust hopes to clean and repair the important Pettus Monuments and display them in a more appropriate way

 

Exterior

Looking at the church from Elm Hill it has three distinct parts: the Tower, of which only the lower part remains; the Nave, with windows and doorway in the Perpendicular style suggesting a late 14th-or early 15th-century date; and the Chancel, with windows in the Decorated style suggesting an early 14th-century date for that part of the building. The large east window overlooking Wensum Street is unusually broad in relation to its height and its mullions widely spaced. Its tracery comprises large double-curved (ogee) shapes, typical of the Decorated style.
Continue briefly along Wensum Street to look at the small churchyard beyond and for a view of the south side of the church. Notice the unusual little wooden lean-to porch to the small Chancel door.

Interior - Lower level

Now retrace your steps into Elm Hill and enter the church by the north doorway. The modern insertions which greet you may be a shock. A concrete floor, cutting across the windows, has been inserted for the full length of the building, the Chancel has been partitioned off from the Nave and stairs and other partitions have been installed. Such apparent vandalism should be seen in the context of the history of the church. In 1892 worship ceased and the building fell into ruin. In 1911the tower partially collapsed. In 1913 it was renovated for use as a Sunday School, but after the Great War decay again set in until in the 1920s demolition was proposed. This was successfully contested by the Norwich Society. On the wall of the Nave you will find a plaque dated 1939 recording the repair of the building by the 'Norwich Amenities Society'.

In 1952, it was leased by the Church to the Boy Scouts Association for use as a shop. The Association's need for additional space and some smaller rooms led to the modern insertions. Some of these would almost certainly not be permitted today, but at that time they enabled the building to be used – and saved. They are all independent of the historic structure and can be removed.


But now for the surprise and the church's greatest treasures. At the far end of the large room, enclosed for protection in brightly painted blur cupboards, are the Pettus family monuments. The family lived in Elm Hill and then at Rackheath in the 16th and 17th centuries. To the right of the blocked chancel arch are Thomas Pettus (Mayor 1590, died 1597) and his wife, kneeling at a prayer desk, their boys to one side and their girls to the other. North of the arch is Sir John Pettus (Mayor 1608, died 1614), reclining uncomfortably on one elbow, in full armour with gauntlet in hand. Above him are his two sons and four daughters. Higher still are his son, Sir Augustus Pettus, (died 1613) and his wife Abigail. The upper monument extends above the inserted floor.

To learn more about the Pettus family and their memorial click here


Interior - Upper level

Now return to the entrance and go upstairs. The upper part of the former Nave is a fine space: the insertion of the floor has given rise to a room of unique character, with the roof being that much closer and the windows coming down to the floor. Notice the arched braced roof trusses and wall posts.
From here go through a door in the blocked archway into the upper part of the former Chancel. This is a pleasant room, with a fine view through the great east window.

Thank you Norwich Town Close Estate and Norfolk County Council

Recently repairs have been made to the chancel ceiling which were made possible by the generous donations from the Norwich Town Close Estate Charity and Norfolk County Council, which have been greatly appreciated.

 

Churches managed by NHCT are highlighted in in bold below. Click to visit a church.
All Saints Westlegate St. George Tombland St. Julian St. Michael at Plea
St. Andrew St. Giles St. Lawrence St. Peter Hungate
St. Augustine St. Gregory St. Margaret St. Peter Mancroft
St. Benedict St. Helen St. Martin at Oak St. Peter Parmentergate
St. Clement St. James Pockthorpe St. Martin at Palace Plain St. Saviour
St. Edmund Fishergate St. John de Sepulchre St. Mary Coslany St. Simon & St. Jude
St. Etheldreda St. John Maddermarket St. Mary the Less St. Stephen
St. George Colegate St. John Timberhill St. Michael(Miles) Coslany St. Swithin