Fishley, St. Mary
OS Sheet 134 Grid Ref. TG 399 115
Hier gibt es eine genaue Karte / Click here for exact map
Click on the picture above to start the photo gallery
This is one of the very remote round tower churches in Norfolk. Although close to Acle, only a small road leads to this church. Problably the best way to reach this little
church is from Upton Dyke, a pretty mooring with only a couple of mooring places (as well as parking places when you travel by car), and still one of the not so well known ones. Our first visit to Fishley is during our boating holidays on
the Norfolk Broads in 2003. We make a circular walk from Upton Dyke mooring, through a little wooded part, then along the River Bure, passing our boatyard and Acle bridge to Acle Dyke where we leave the River and walk to Acle. We also
visit Acle St Edmund, another round tower church,
and then along the public footpath to Fishley church. (This is a very nice walk, recommended for all boaters, even if they are not that much interested in round tower churches) The first thing we learn about St Mary church: it is firmly
locked, and no key keeper is listed. A pity, but nothing we can do about it right now. But the question is: why is this church here? There is no village called Fishely, only Fishley Hall is close by. But less than a mile or so away, there
is Upton church with the village of the same name, and a mile to the south is Acle. So why another church here? Anyway, it is a beautiful setting, it is May, and the churchyard is in full bloom. Lots of trees surround this church, it is
really well hidden although it is in the middle of some fields. We take some photos, and walk back to the boat.
Back in 2007, again boating, and another try. This time, the first thing we notice is that a lot of the trees are gone. Not so well hidden any more. But another thing hasn’t changed at all: it is still firmly locked, and still no key keeper listed. We see the sign of the RTC Society announcing their tour to the church - a fortnight later, but by then, our holidays are over, and we will already be back in Germany. Photos are taken in the sunshine this time, but still no visit possible. But this year, we seem to be very lucky - I only do not know it yet....
A week later, we have returned the boat, now travelling by car I want to take some photos of churches we have been to before, but like Acle, I had only taken one photo inside the church. Back again to St Edmund, a couple of ladies are arranging the flowers in the church. As they learn of my interest in round tower churches one of them asks me if I have been to Fishley before. I say yes, but that it was always locked. And voilà, one of them tells me: “I have a key”. This is the sort of coincidence one needs sometimes when visiting churches. She says she will come with us and open the church for us. She also tells us they keep it locked because it is so remote, and they do suffer from a lot of vandalism there... Isn’t that terrible? But this time I can take photos inside this church. It is very small inside, it looks far bigger from the outside. A lot of pretty windows, and an organ that - as there is no electricity here - has still to be handled manually (two people are needed, one operating the bellow). The church is not used often, but we learn that a wedding will take place here in late summer, and 100 (!) guests will be expected. Well, as I said before, this church is really tiny, so this might be an interesting wedding...