Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service urged people to stay away from the church in Beachamwell after the blaze erupted. Ten fire engines were sent to tackle the fire at St Mary’s Church on Wednesday.
At around 11.50am, they tweeted: “We are currently dealing with a church fire in Beachamwell.
“We would ask local residents to please stay away from the scene and to keep doors and windows shut.
“Thank you for your support.”
They lated added: “We are scaling down the incident and currently have an aerial ladder platform and three fire engines still on scene, along with specialist officers.
“It is safe for local residents to re-open doors and windows and we would like to thank them for their patience today.”
One man from a neighbouring village, who asked not to be named, told Eastern Daily Press: “We do a monthly walk and set off from Beachamwell at about 10am and there was people working on the roof.
“The lead was stolen off the roof a few years ago and finally work started on the roof after Christmas.
“We saw fire engines go past us when we were on our walk and we heard from people that it was the church.
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“It must be upsetting for people who have family memorials in the church.”
A worker – who also asked not to be named – said he was working on the roof with two other people before the fire broke out.
He said “We were putting the led roof on.
“The thatched roof was all rotten, there were thatchers working on it the other day and it was like dust, it just fell apart.
“We were doing a little bit of welding and a spark caught the thatched roof.
“And well look at it now, it’s mortifying.
“It’s just evil.
“It went up so quick, and spread that quickly.
“We were making our way down and there was already a hole in the roof.
“We rung the fire brigade straight away and they told us to stay away.”
It is believed the church is one of the earliest in Norfolk with the round tower being built in the 11th Century.
According to reports, it is the last remaining of four churches used to serve the area.
More to follow…