Record Details

NHER Number:4329
Type of record:Building
Name:St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth

Summary

This church is said to be largest parish church in Britain and has extremely wide aisles. It was originally a Benedictine priory church. This priory church building was completed in 1119. The base of the tower of the present church is Norman but very little of the rest of the Benedictine church remains. Throughout the medieval period the church was altered and expanded. The aisles were widened in the 13th century, the south porch was added in the 14th century and new windows were put in the north wall in the 15th century. The church was divided into three in the 16th century when the different parts were used by different denominations. These parts were joined again in the 19th century when the church was restored. However much of this work can no longer be seen as the church was gutted in 1942 by bombing and subsequent fire. The interior was rebuilt between 1957 and 1960. Remains of a charnel house have been recorded in the large churchyard which is now being managed and extended as a park by the local council.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 5249 0804
Map Sheet:TG50NW
Parish:GREAT YARMOUTH, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

St Nicholas's Church.
Claimed to be largest parish church in England. Founded as Benedictine priory church in 1119. Work of all periods from Norman to modern (restored after bomb damage). Traces of charnel chapels, etc. in yard.
For full details see (S1).
E. Rose 1 October 1980.

Mid 1970s.
Drawings of gargoyles at St Nicholas' Church, (S11, S12, S13 and S14).
H. Mellor (HES), 20 June 2014.

April 1997. Watching Brief.
A pipe trench was dug to south, west and north of the church. Much human skeletal material was disturbed in all pipe trenches, none of which was kept. Two very fragmentary lumps of in-situ masonry were seen inline with the north and south walls. Three barrel vaulted brick tombs dated to around the 18th/19th century were also disturbed.
See report (S2) for further details. This work was also noted in (S15).
J. Percival (NAU), 20 August 1997.

Church is listed Grade II*, railings Grade II, several groups of tombstones Grade II.
See (S3) for details.

Churchyard is graded two star (regional importance) as an example of a churchyard taken over and extended as a park by the local council.
See (S4) for details.
E. Rose (NLA), 26 February 1998.

This is one of the sixty five Norfolk churches selected for (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

Churchyard level lowered "two to four feet", March 1883.
See (S6).
K. Hamilton (NLA) 26 June, 2006

October 2006. Watching brief. Contexts 1-13.
The remains of a structural wall was observed, possibly relating to the cloister building of the Priory of St Nicholas (NHER 4295).
A stone slab, possibly originating from a tomb, and an in-situ tomb were also present.
A flint and lime mortar feature, probably forming part of the south aisle foundation was seen at the west end of the trench.
See report (S7) for further details. This work is also noted in (S9).
J. Allen (NLA), 6 March 2007.

June 2011. Newspaper Article.
The history of Great Yarmouth's St Nicholas Church has been chronicled in a book by a local historian, Michael Boon, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the start of restoration work on the church.
See (S8) for further details.
D. Lefeuvre (HES), 8 August 2011.

Renovation work continues on the church, to replace balustrades which were damaged by bombers during the Second Wold War. The ironwork is being replaced by steel which will stop the stone from cracking.
See (S10) for further details.
M Langham-Lopez (HES), 26 November 2012.

Monument Types

  • CHARNEL HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GRAVE SLAB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOMB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1119 AD to 2050 AD)
  • GARDEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOMB (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COFFIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG5208A, B.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. Church could face £200,000 bill for repairs. 14 May.
---Article in Serial: Wood, R. 1999. The Chantry Certificates of Norfolk: Towards a Partial Reconstruction. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 287-306.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1995. TG5207/ABM,ABS,ABT.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. TG5208/U, V, T.
---Graphic Material: Various. Various. Architectural plans..
---Publication: Great Yarmouth Historical Buildings, Ltd.. 1928. Historic Yarmouth and Neighbourhood. An Account of the recent visit of the Suffolk Archaeologists to the Town and Neighbourhood.. 19 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. £3/4m needed for church restoration. 11 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. Church appeal hits a crisis. 20 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. Church appeal hits a crisis. 24 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Church work begins. 3 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Plea for crumbling church. 12 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Tombstone led Ron to terror of the seas. 26 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. Huge bill for church. 4 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1993. Old bones mystery. 20 April.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. Ancient chest back in church after 50 years. 1 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Vital work on church. 7 January.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Store's donation boosts church appeal. 4 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. [unknown]. Sad sight of church after devastating air attack. 15 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. 'Crumbling' church appeal. 5 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1994. 'Heritage' sale could pay for church repairs. 28 January.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1993. Work starts to restore crumbling pinnacles. 12 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. Preserving town's great symbol. 10 November.
---Publication: Eccleston, A. W.. 1959. The Rise Of Great Yarmouth.
---Newspaper Article: Yarmouth Mercury. [unknown]. Fire-ravaged church rising from ashes. [unknown].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. On a mission to safeguard our churches. 26 December.
---Publication: 1836. Woodward Correspondance. p.60.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Grants given to 18 county churches. 17 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Town's memorial to bodysnatchers. 19 October.
---Photograph: 1988. School of St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth. Print.
---Monograph: Styan, K.E.. 1902. A Short History of Sepulchral Cross Slabs.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. A holy site receives new honour. 10 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Service marks 70 years since raid. 14 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Secrets linger over wartime destruction. 23 June.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Article in Serial: Morant, A.W. 1872. Notices of the Church of St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VII pp 215-248.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. Building Report..
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival, J. and Forrest, K. 1998. Results of Watching Brief at St Nicholas' Churchyard, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 271.
<S3>Scheduling Record: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Taigel, A. 1997. Norfolk Gardens Trust: Town Gardens Survey - Volume One.
<S5>Monograph: Jenkins, S.. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches..
<S6>Unpublished Document: 1883. St Nicholas Parish Magazine..
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2006. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB072R.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Landmark date for church remembered. 11 June.
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 2007. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2006. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt II pp 261-273. p 264.
<S10>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Stonemasons face a high-level challenge. 16 November.
<S11>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S12>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S13>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S14>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S15>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1998. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1997. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt I pp 193-210. p 198.

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