Wooden Poor Box

One of the church's most treasured possessions is the curious wooden poor box, which represents the figure of a priest on whose chest is inscribed the words, "Remember the Poors, 1639". He is shown holding a bag with an orifice at the top where money can be placed before passing into the box below.

Carving of Poor Box in St Mary's Church and Carving on the Market Cross demolished in 1820

There are several stained glass windows in the church and the one at the extreme east end was erected in memory of the twenty men of the parish who fell in the Great War of 1914-18. In 1887 a new organ was built and a carved oak reredos fixed, both the reredos and the chancel being enriched with subjects from the designs of Thomas Waters, a local artist. The church was completely renovated in 1902 and in 1907 a new carved oak reredos was presented by Dr. Mallins. In 1952 the ce­ ment rendering that had covered the flint work of the round part of the tower since Victorian times was removed to reveal very little damage to the flint work, which was then repointed to give a most pleasing effect to the fine craftsmanship of the original builders eight hundred years ago.

In 1973 the bells were re-tuned and mention should be made of teams of hand-bell ringers, who for generations have given much pleasure, not only to the church congregation, but by ringing around the town during the Christmas Festivities.

A hundred new kneelers were made by the "Friends of the Church" in 1974 and the organ was restored in 1975 at a cost of € 5,000. During 1978 the church heating system was completely overhauled. This involved the re-sighting of the oil-fired boiler.

A most beautiful lectern, complete with steps and rails, were given to the church by the late Donald Moore in memory of his parents, the late Mr. & Mrs John Moore and Family and the late Mr. & Mrs. Fred Goss and family of Watton and were dedicated by the Bishop of Norwich on 20th July 1980.

October 31st 1983 was another memorial day in the history of St. Mary's Church, when the Bishop of Norwich the Rt. Rev. Maurice Wood again visited Watton to dedicate the extensive alterations to the church, recently completed at a cost of E25.QOO, Partitions of English Oak have been constructed to provide new and completely sound-proofed rooms at the rear of the wide aisles. Previously unus­ ed space in the north aisle has been converted into a rector's vestry, kitchen and toilet. The space at the rear of the south aisle which was formerly the rector's and choir's combined vestry, being divided from the rest of the church by a screen, has now been made into the choir's vestry and Sunday School Room.

The pews from the north aisle have been removed and the floor retiled, thus providing a multi­purpose area for worship, exhibitions and meetings which has greatly increased the versatility of the church. The completion of this vast project marked the end of a six-year fund-raising period with most of the money being raised by the congregation. The work was executed by Gordon T. Hyde, a local builder.


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