The Turning of the Tide
During the early part of the 19th century great and wealthy families were attracted to Cromer and the surrounding area. They included the Buxtons who were associated with the anti-slavery movement, the Bond Cabbells of Cromer Hall, the Gurneys of Earlham, and the Barclay and Hoare families.
Cromer began to develop into a select holiday resort for the well-to-do and the population soon doubled. In consequence the West Gallery was pulled down to provide for extra seating. During this operation about 400 cartridges were discovered behind the woodwork, a reminder of the Napoleon invasion fears and that the tower would have obviously been a strong point in our defence.
To the disgust of many, however, the West Gallery was rebuilt, and other galleries were erected in the North and South aisles. In 1967, when the walls of the church were stripped and refaced, four sockets were exposed over the north and south porches which might be assumed would have received the supporting beams of the galleries.
The Church quite rightly benefited from the rising prosperity. In 1862, there was a strong urge to restore the church and, due to the generosity of the wealthy families who had, by then, become associated with Cromer (as well as the local residents and tradesmen) restoration commenced in great earnest.
The old family box pews and the three galleries were all removed and new seating provided. Gifts included the beautiful hammer beam roof of the nave, by Benjamin Bond Cabbell of Cromer Hall, the Lord of the Manor and Sir T.F. Buxton, MP. with Charles Buxton. The roofs of both the north and south aisles and four windows were also given by Benjamin Bond Cabbell who truly responded in the manner befitting a good Lord of the Manor.
Several windows were restored at the expense of various members of the Buxton family, and Cromer Church owes much to these great families for their generosity.