In Bracon Ash, Hethel & Hethel Camp
The villages of Bracon Ash and Hethel each have their own church. The buildings are historic, both with interesting monuments, but they are first and foremost the meeting-places of vibrant communities of Christians who want to worship God and serve their communities. The parishes were once separate: Hethel was united with Bracon Ash after their last Rector left in 1948. In the 1980s the parish became part of the Wreningham group for a decade and then joined the Mulbarton church group. Together they share a vision: 'Following Jesus - Sharing the Journey with the villages of Mulbarton, Flordon, Bracon Ash and Hethel'.
St Nicholas Church, Bracon Ash
FIND OUT MORE about this unassuming little church in Bracon Ash village that has seen many changes over the years. It is not the original building - the Domesday Book of 1085 records both a church and a rectory at Bracon Ash. The building we see today dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, with alteration and additions - the most prominent being the 18th century mausoleum for the Berney family of Bracon Hall which dominates the view from the path to the porch. See how the church was refurbished in the early 20th Century, and studied by archaeologists this century when work uncovered even more of a rare terracotta monument. For those who enjoy heraldry there are hatchments and ledger stones with shields and inscriptions. But this is not the dead heart of the village - here God is worshiped some Sundays and weekdays and members are involved in events at Bracon Ash Village Hall and elsewhere in the community.
All Saints' Church, Hethel
The village of Hethel is scattered across a large parish and the church is not easy to find for the first time: down Church Lane where the tarmac ends! The unassuming building creates an immediate impression of rural charm standing in its unspoilt churchyard, surrounded by fields and trees, as it has for very many centuries. It's hard to believe this is only 7 miles from Norwich! Perhaps its very sheltered nature helped to save many early features from later rebuilding and 'restoration'. From its unusual early flint-and-mortar square tower to its 18th brick mausoleum this is clearly a building of many phases that has had a number of modifications since its initial construction. FIND OUT MORE about this 'gem of a building', its wonderful Branthwayt monument and ledger stones; the Beevor vault and hatchments. These families of Hethel Hall are among the many recorded here - and there are more recent memorials, including the Book of Remembrance for the 389th Heavy Bombardment Group of the USAAF stationed a short distance away, which had its own Chapel. The Hall has been demolished, the airfield ploughed up (apart from a section used as the Lotus test-track) but the Church remains the only communal building in Hethel village. The Christians who worship here also maintain the churchyard as a nature reserve, organise occasional events, and are renowned for their hospitality!