Cell in St Bartholomew’s Church




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Nation   England

County   Norfolk

Location   St Bartholomew's Church, Church Street,  Brisley

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   unknown

Year closed   unknown

Building Type   Church

Remarks   Under the chancel of the church, accessible via a narrow flight of stairs, was a cell used as overnight accommodation for prisoners who were on route from King's Lynn to Norwich Castle, a distance of 44 miles.


'Perhaps the most memorable feature of St Bartholomew is to be found when you have stepped through the 15th century screen into the chancel. There is a doorway to the north which leads down into the crypt below the sanctuary. This is well worth a visit, and is usually open to the public. You climb down a narrow flight of stairs into a space which is curiously light and clean. I could imagine it as a wine cellar of some kind, perhaps. It is less easy to populate it in your mind with piles of coffins. A notice on the wall tells you that it was once used to accommodate prisoners overnight on the long journey from Kings Lynn assizes to the gallows in Norwich. Imagine spending the night here with your execution in prospect for the day ahead! Not a happy thought.'

Simon Knott, 'St Bartholomew, Brisley', Norfolk Churches (http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/brisley/brisley.htm) (May, 2006)

Featured Images

  • Exterior, St Bartholomew's Church, BrisleyPhoto © John Salmon (cc-by-sa/2.0)
  • The Crypt, or Cell, underneath the chancelPhoto © Evelyn Simak (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: Exterior, St Bartholomew's Church, Brisley

Photo by: Photo © John Salmon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: The Crypt, or Cell, underneath the chancel

Photo by: Photo © Evelyn Simak (cc-by-sa/2.0)


    Simon Knott, 'St Bartholomew, Brisley', Norfolk Churches (May, 2006)

  • http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/brisley/brisley.htm


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