The photo above shows the west tower and lead-clad spire of St. Nicholas’ church Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Although looking like a ‘needle spire’ it is in fact a ‘broach spire’ evidenced by the triangular anchors at the base of the spire at each of the four corners (for further discussion on church spires see ‘Landmarks and Beacons’ in section three of this website).
St. Nicholas’ church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, a charity part-funded by the government, by the Church of England and by membership and donations. The name C.C.T. was given to the charity in 1994 to replace its previous name Redundant Churches Fund which it had had since being formed in 1969, this setting-up being a response to the Redundant Churches and Other Religious Buildings Act, 1969 and the C. of E.’s Pastoral Measure, 1968.
St. Nicholas’ spire (like all others) points ‘heavenwards’, or at least to the sky if one has a more circumspect view on such matters. Some might suggest that the very purpose for the construction of spires in the first place was to direct parishioner’s and traveller’s attention heavenward, this may, or may not, have been the case, what is clear is that church spires had no purely ecclesiastical function otherwise (again see article in Section 3).
(To be continued).