Norfolk

Medieval Norfolk church gutted by fire

Wimbotsham church Image copyright Geoff Robinson Photography
Image caption A drone captured the extent of the damage to the medieval church

A 12th Century church has been gutted by a fire.

The blaze was reported at 06:07 BST and when firefighters arrived at the scene in Wimbotsham, Norfolk, they discovered the roof was alight.

Nine crews tackled the fire at St Mary the Virgin Church, which dates from 1175, and it was extinguished by 10:00.

Part of the building was saved but the majority had been "100% damaged", a Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said.

Station manager Terry Pinto said: "We have been able to save some of the building through early intervention but it is a very sad day.

"Unfortunately the majority of the church is 100% damaged."

Image copyright Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption St Mary the Virgin Church was built in 1175
Image copyright Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption An investigation will be held into the cause of the fire

Firefighters were able to save some of the historical documents kept in the church and the bell tower is "still standing for the moment".

Mr Pinto said the fire service would remain on the scene for most of the day and would carry out a detailed investigation of the cause.

Wimbotsham parish councillor Anne Smith, whose mother is buried at the church, said it was very important to the village.

She said: "It is so sad, the church is really, really important to the village. Everybody has tried to pull together to make sure it stays here but now we have had this fire. It is just dreadful."

Image copyright Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The church roof was originally thatched by was tiled in the 19th Century
Image copyright Ian Burt Photography
Image caption Nine crews helped tackle to blaze
Image copyright Ian Burt Photography
Image caption The fire service asked people to avoid the area to allow crews to work

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