Record Details

NHER Number:1136
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Old Hunstanton


Old Hunstanton is dominated by Hunstanton Hall (NHER 1117), and in its grounds is St Mary's, one of the largest churches in this part of Norfolk. The oldest elements of the church are the Norman font and a fragment of re-used Norman stone in the vestry. The offset northwest tower is 15th century, but is completely dwarfed by the huge nave and chancel, the result of a massive and enthusiastic Victorian restoration and rebuilding exercise that included the fine tall south porch. Inside, the Norman font is set on a high pedestal in glazed 19th century tiles and the whole interior is lit by very good 19th century stained glass windows. St Mary's is not without its medieval survivals, including the rood screen and the arcades, but most visible elements date from the 19th century, including the carved alabaster pulpit, made as a memorial to Henry Styleman Le Strange (died 1862), who paid for all the rebuilding work. In the churchyard are two headstones of 1784, one to an Excise man killed by smugglers and one to a smuggler who fell in the same skirmish.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6890 4198
Map Sheet:TF64SE

Full description

St Mary's Church.
Much ironbound conglomerate.
Norman font and fragments, otherwise mostly late 13th century but completely 'restored' and altered 1857. Good brasses and tombs.
For full details see report (S1) in file. Architectural plans (S2) and press cutting (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 25 March 1981.

Parish Church. 14th century fabric by two members of the Le Strange family of Hunstanton Hall. Ambitiously restored and reroofed in about 1860 by Henry Le Strange (1815 to 1862), developer of New Hunstanton: 'the late Mr. L'Estrange undertook the repair and restoration of the entire … was completed from the designs of that accomplished gentleman, the work being carried out by masons and carpenters under his immediate and diligent supervision'. Hunstanton and its neighbour- hood PW, (1864), GW, (1873) pages 33 to 34). Similarities with St Edmund's, New Hunstanton (1865 to 1869) suggest the involvement of Frederick Preedy, architect, Le Strange's cousin. Flint, stone dressings, lead roofs. Northwest tower, nave and clerestorey, north and south aisles, south porch, chancel, north vestries. Tower: set off buttresses at west, south door of about 1300, square sound hole openings to bell stage, two-light Decorated belfry stage windows, battlemented parapet. Nave five-light west window, geometric tracery of about 1860, sound hole in gable, three trefoils in segmental triangle. North aisle two two-light windows, south aisle three-light west window, four two-light south windows, one three-light east window, all of about 1860. Geometric - Decorated tracery. Five circular clerestorey windows, alternate trefoil and cinquefoil tracery. South porch 1864, arch with cinquefoil bar tracery, north and south two roundels with flowing tracery. Chancel three two-light south and one north window, Decorated, of about 1860, five-light east window, geometric tracery of about 1860. Lean-to vestries to northeast of about 1900. Interior: south porch roof massive over wind braced. Doors and internal porch of 1864. Nave five bay north and south arcades, alternate rounded and octagonal piers, stone seats at base, single hollow-chamfered pointed arches. Massive overstructured nave roof, decorative wind-bracing, arched double scissor braces resting alternately on carved Apostle head corbels, by Earp (L.L. Gore,The History of Hunstanton, (1983), page 58). At west, Norman font, central pier with four detached angle columns, scalloped underside to bowl, attached colonnettes at angles, steps. Mosaic on floor by Earp. West window single stained light of about 1861. Benches of about 1860. Black and yellow tiled floor. South aisle east window, stained, High Victorian, Tree of Jesse by Henry Le Strange, who painted the roof of Ely Cathedral nave. North aisle: painted royal arms of William IV (1830 to 1837). At east, table tomb with brass to Sir Roger Le Strange (died 1506), an esquire of the body to Henry VIII. Perpendicular blank tracery panels with brass coats of arms, brass with figure in armour, tabard tunic under heraldic helm and three ogee canopies. Small figures in tabards either side. Inscription but no religious iconography whatever. Originally in chancel, replaced there in about 1860, removed here in 20th century. Chancel: pulpit, marble, stone and alabaster, perhaps by Earp or Boulton of Cheltenham. Perpendicular chancel arch with seven-light screen dating to about 1500, polychrome dado with twelve Apostles, seven-light divisions, loft, restored in about 1900 by Bodley. On north, Perpendicular stone recessed altar tomb of 1485 of Henry Le Strange, perhaps used as an Easter Sepulchre Tomb chest; four-centred arch, parapet with coats of arms. Arched, boarded and coved roof, angle corbels of about 1861. Stalls neo-Perpendicular, of about 1920 by Sir Walter Tapper. Reredos stone, mastic, glazed tiles, alabaster, marble, painted angels in roundels by Frederick Preedy (Gore Hunstanton page 58). East window 1867 in memory of Henry Le Strange, vivid High Victorian colour by Preedy. See also The Story of Hunstanton Parish Church., anonymous, Gloucester, 1948, passim.
Information from (S4).

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FONT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOD SCREEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GRAVESTONE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

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

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF6841A.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF6941/AD, AK, AL, AP; TF6842/G.
---Website: Knott, S.. 2005.
---Serial: Pevsner, N.. Buildings of England: Norfolk..
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Unpublished document: Rose, E.. 1981. Building Report.
<S2>Graphic material: Various. Various. Architectural plans..
<S3>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1997. 16 October.
<S4>Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.

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