Record Details

NHER Number:10128
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Howe


A Late Saxon, medieval and later parish church. The round tower and nave date to around 1050 and contain a considerable amount of Roman building material. The chancel, porch and some nave windows were added in about 1300. The medieval north chapel or aisle has been demolished, although excavations in 2003 uncovered walls and part of a tiled floor from it. This work also revealed two infant skeletons, Roman, medieval and post medieval finds and an 18th century vault that was used by Sewell family. The nave roof was constructed in the 15th century, when the tower may have been perhaps heightened. The whole church was restored during the 19th century. Removal of infill from the western doorway in April 2009 revealed further evidence that this doorway dates from the 11th century and was filled in sometime after the 15th century.


  • St Mary's Church, Howe, a Late Saxon, medieval and later parish church  © Norfolk County Council


Grid Reference:TM 2750 9995
Map Sheet:TM29NE

Full description

Round tower and nave about 1050 containing much Roman material including flue tile. Possible removed north chapel. Chancel and porch added, nave windows about 1300. 15th century window (removed 19th century) and nave roof, tower perhaps heightened at this date. 19th century rendering with new porch, chancel roof, windows.
Few furnishings of interest except for good Great War memorial triptych.
See report (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 15 October 2002.

March 2003. NAU evaluation.
On extension to north nave.
Contexts 10-30 used.
A buried churchyard soil was uncovered which contained Roman tile, medieval and post medieval finds. Part of this deposit had been cut to enable the construction of a wall or wall foundation during the medieval period, possibly in the 14th century. This would have been part of a structure to the north of the nave, probably a north aisle. Part of an in situ tiled floor (including glazed and decorated tiles) was found within the probable aisle. It was disturbed in the 15th century or later, during the abandonment and demolition of the structure.
Two medieval infant skeletons were found buried to the north of the probable aisle. It was not clear whether they were buried whilst the structure was standing.
An 18th century brick and stone vault and associated cut were found truncating the abandonment deposit associated with the probable aisle. The vault was associated with the Sewell family and was last used during the mid 19th century.
See report (S2) in file.
See also (S6).
M. Horlock (NLA), 29 August 2003.

July to September 2007. Watching brief during the construction of a northern extension, including the observation of the excavation of a drainage trench and soak away and the opening of the blocked north door.
Deposits encountered during the evaluation were observed in the area of the extension. The builders recovered a complete medieval pot from beneath the floor of the possible north aisle.The 18th century vault was opened; it contained at least twenty lead coffins.
A churchyard soil was visible in the drainage trench and soak away.
Report awaited.
D. Robertson (NLA), 25 September 2007.

September 2007. Unblocking of north doorway produced fragments of a moulded brick doorway of around 1500 reused in the rubble, possibly the entrance to the south porch which was rebuilt in 1895, and a number of 18th/19th century plastered bricks which may once have formed an entrance feature to the Sewell vault below. A number of 17th century roof tiles were also found.
(see report (S3) in file).
E. Rose (NLA), 24 September 2007.

April 2009. Watching brief, contexts from 31.
A watching brief was carried out during the removal of a portion of walling from a blocked western doorway believed to be of Saxon origin. Once the infill had been removed, it was revealed that the two imposts visible on the interior of the doorway continued through to the exterior with a triple roll mould on their underside and would have projected forward from the jambs in a style consistent with the Late Saxon period. Within the arch above the doorway Tredington-style birckwork was recorded, lending further support to an 11th century date for the tower. It appears that at some time between the late 16th and 19th century the western entrance fell out of use and was blocked up using a mixture of flint, medieval brick and post-medieval tile.
See (S4) and (S5) for further information.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 4 September 2009.

Monument Types

  • ROUND TOWERED CHURCH (Late Saxon to Modern - 851 AD to 2050 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VAULT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • NAIL (Unknown date)
  • BRICK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLUE TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TEGULA (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DOOR (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WINDOW (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1984. TM 2799A,B.
---Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.
---Photograph: KMV.
---Unpublished document: South Norfolk District Council. 1981. Howe Conservation Area: A Discussion Document.
---Illustration: Ladbrooke, J.B.. 1823. Howe Church.
---Archive: Heywood S. (HES). Norfolk County Council Site Record - St Mary's Church, Howe.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Howe.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Late Saxon. Howe.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Unpublished document: Rose, E.. 2002. Building Report..
<S2>Unpublished document: Robertson, D.. 2003. NAU Report No. 813. An Archaeological evaluation at St Mary's Church, Howe..
<S3>Unpublished document: Rose, E. (NLA). 1987. Appendix to building report. October 8.
<S4>Unpublished document: Phelps, A.. 2009. NAU Archaeology Report No. 2129. An Archaeological Watching Brief at St Mary's Church, Howe, Norfolk..
<S5>Article in serial: Gurney, D & Hoggett, R.. 2010. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2009. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLVI, pt I, pp 135-147. p 140.
<S6>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2004. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2003. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt III pp 573-588. p 579.

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