Tilney All Saints Parish Church today is primarily a place for regular worship, as it has been for nearly nine hundred years. A building of this age is also of great historic interest and value as it has been found to be one of the best of the many beautiful medieval churches in Norfolk.
The church has links with Pembroke College, Cambridge and parish records date from the sixteenth century, and Churchwardens' Accounts exist for the period 1443-1589. It boasts a section in England's Thousand Best Churches and Pesvner's Buildings of England.
This great church, with a total length of 145 feet and built of the stone known as 'Barnack Rag' from Northamptonshire - the quarries at Barnack belonging to the Abbey of Peterborough having supplied the materials for most of the churches in East Anglia - is a splendid example of how a much earlier building was altered and brought into line with later styles during the Gothic period, especially during the 15th century, the period of the region's greatest prosperity.
It is clear that the church existed in the 12th century. The arcades with their round arches date from around 1180, but the arches at the eastern end, with their deeply cut foliage moulding on the capitals, may well be a little earlier, suggesting that the building was begun from the east end (The Norman Arches). It would also appear that at this period the aisles were shorter than at present and that the chancel extended beyond the east end of the arcades, for on each side in the easternmost bay two small arches remain, close together, which would have been the chancel windows when the aisles did not extend so far outside.
At the west end of the nave, however, the style changes and the rounded 11th century Norman arches give way, in the westernmost bay on either side, to Early English pointed ones, suggesting that the church was given a western extension about 1250, or as the late Canon C R Manning suggested, that there may have been a Norman west tower which fell at about this period necessitating the reconstruction of the west end of the church.
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