Sometimes what you see isn’t all it seems. At first sight, the tower of Beetley church (Norfolk) looks 14th century; in fact, a number of people in the early 16th century left money for the tower, with one will of 1500 bequeathing to increasing the new steeple, “the making of vi fote”, so it appears that some of what you see dates from around 1500. That west window, from around 1340, may have been relocated from the previous building, for which there are precedents. 

The tower of Wheatacre church (Norfolk) is another puzzle. Made of brick, it features belfry windows in a decidedly secular 16th century style, not to mention a remarkable chequer-board pattern. Money was left towards its bells in 1506 and 1508, and there was another bequest, to “edifying” the steeple, in 1522, so it looks as if Wheatacre tower dates from then.

The tower at Uggeshall (Suffolk) received a number of bequests in the 1530s; today what we see is a base, with an inscription under the west windows “Orate pro animabus, Joh’is Jewle et Marione ux’ ejus” (presumably they were donors) and a low clapperboarded top. It’s sometimes said that the top of the tower fell in the 18th century, but one doubts that it was completed.

As you approach the small village of Swilland (4: Suffolk), you spot the spike on top of an equally strange half-timbered tower. It is the work of the Ipswich architect John S. Corder (1897); there was already an early 16th c. brick tower (ready for the bells in 1516) and Corder placed what Norman Scarfe described as ‘a sort of Swiss Cottage’ upon it (though others have been less appreciative).