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Cotman drawing of the Galilee porchThe West Porch (The 'Galilee' Porch)

The Galilee porch was originally Gothic architecture and once the pride of the church. It was the subject of the drawing, seen to the left, by the celebrated Norfolk artist, John Sell Cotman. The porch stands out about 21 feet from the Tower wall, measures about 15 feet and has stone seats on both sides. At the entrance of this porch are two shields, representing the Patrons of the church with their respective symbols; the crossed keys for St. Peter and St. Paul. Time and decay however, have almost obliterated these symbols, which must have looked imposing at this entrance of the church. The arch of the doorway leading into the tower is richly double moulded, bearing on the outer moulding a blank shield and a rose charged with a quatrefoil alternately, and on the inner, a shield with an angel alternately. The lower compartments of the inner moulding have an angel holding a shield. Finely vaulted with the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul with their emblems in the centre and four other figures. As previously mentioned, the battlements were added during the 1862-3 restoration period. This porch had a brief restoration in 1969 but it is rarely used today. However when the west door is open it presents a most impressive view of this magnificent church.

The South Porch

The entrance to the south porch has an elaborately carved doorway, above which is a figure of an angel with outstretched wings holding a shield, over which is a decorated niche, now empty. There are stone seats on both sides of the porch having vaulting similar to the west porch, with the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul and their emblems in the centre. Also there are four other figures. There is an empty, unused room above which, in olden times, could have been the first schoolroom in Cromer. Access to this room and the south aisle roof is by a door in the north-west corner of the porch, and is reached by a circular stairway within a small tower similar to the north porch. Today the south porch is the normal entry and exit for all services to the public.

The North Porch

This porch, once an important entrance to the church, was used as the Vicar's Vestry. It has a room above which contains a huge ancient fireplace; most probably dating back to the Tudor period. It also contains a hagioscope, and these features indicate that it must have been occupied by either Chaplains or visiting preachers in the past. There is also some old masonry which, once, must have adorned the church. The entrance to this room is by a small door situated in the west corner of the north aisle. Externally it forms a small tower containing 22 circular steps. These lead to the room, and also give access to the north aisle roof, where there are indications that, in earlier times, there could have been an entry to this small tower from outside the church.

The porch was known to be in a ruinous state around 1800, as prints, paintings and photographs bear testimony. This can be verified from the following extract from the Rev. Armstrong's Norfolk Diary, dated 31-8-1852:

"As to Cromer, it is a most aristocratic place of the kind in Norfolk. The church tower is superb but the south porch and the chancel are no more. Mr. B. Bond Cabbell, who has recently purchased Cromer Hall, is about to repair the beautiful northern entrance."

However, when restored, the vaulting was copied in wood without any figures or symbols.