Heavenly voices will help to stop the rot at Salle church

The drip, drip, drip of this spring and summer's incessant downpours could cause untold damage to one of Norfolk's greatest architectural treasures if not funnelled away safely through the proper channels.

And so those who worship at, and care for, the mighty Ss Peter and Paul Church at tiny Salle are busy raising funds to avoid the rot setting in.

To help them, the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, is to perform a concert at the church – Norfolk's 'cathedral of the fields' – on Sunday, July 8.

Salle was the home centuries ago of members of the Boleyn family. who at that time were small-scale farmers and who later became merchants. The legacy of the Boleyns, the Fountaines and other neighbouring families to Norfolk was a church considered by many to be the county's finest.

Its treasures are many: from the rich craftsmanship of its roof, three-decker pulpit and misericords to its Green Men and its slim but monumental 115ft-high tower, complete with corner pinnacles.

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But keeping the building watertight and in good order for future admiration and prayer is a never-ending task for a village of barely 50 people.

Salle churchwarden Roger Fry said the latest project - to improve the rainwater disposal system – might be 'unglamorous' but it was essential to preserve and maintain the building.

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He added: 'As part of the fundraising, Magdalen College Choir have offered to come, at no cost to the church, for the concert.'

Mr Fry said the works would cost the parochial church council about �186,000.

Magdalen College is one of the oldest choral foundations in England, with an unbroken tradition stretching back to the late-15th century.

Its choir retains much the same shape as it had way back then, with 16 boy choristers and 12 adult 'academical clerks' who are undergraduates of the college.

Magdalen's director of chapel music – or Informator Choristarum as he is still known – is Daniel Hyde, whose predecessors include Daniel Purcell, brother of Henry, and Sir John Stainer.

The choir's 6pm concert will include works by Britten, Byrd, Finzi, Purcell, Sheppard and Stanford. Tickets are �15, including refreshments, available from Mr Fry at Hill House, Brandiston, Norwich, NR10 4PQ, by calling him on 01603 871010 or by emailing roger@fry.org. Any left will be available on the door.

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