Record Details

NHER Number:10943
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Winfarthing


St Mary's Church is a large building constructed predominantly of flint with a nave, chancel, butressed west tower and south aisle and north porch. The majority of the building dates to the Decorated period of the 13th and 14th centuries, and almost all the windows date from this period. The chancel has quatrefoil windows, but the aisle shows signs of 15th century work as does the flushwork in the north porch. Inside there is an interesting font, which appears to have a Norman base with a Victorian octagonal top piece. There is a legend that one knight killed another in a dispute over a woman, and having taken sanctuary in this church left his sword here when he went into exile. The sword itself was treated as a relic and said to offer miracles to those who tended it, though where it is today is unknown, since it vanished in the Reformation.


  • St Mary's Church, Winfarthing. Photograph from  © S. Knott


Grid Reference:TM 1093 8571
Map Sheet:TM18NW

Full description

Once had a sword worshipped as a relic, left behind by a thief seeking sanctuary - according to (S1).

Huge coffin hewn out of solid stone, with cross and staff on lid, found in grave digging.
(S2) notes square tower, north porch, south aisle, thatched chancel, piscinae in chancel and in aisle, chest, two octofoil windows on north.
?Norman font.
E. Rose (NAU).

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SWORD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TM 1085A,B.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Article in Serial: Hart, R. 1864. The Shrines and Pilgrimages of the County of Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VI pp 277-294. p 281-282.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 783.
---Monograph: Hart, S.. 2010. Medieval Church Window Tracery in England. p 78.
<S1>Monograph: Becon. T.. 1563. Reliques of Rome..
<S2>Documentary Source: Martin, T. c. 1700-1799. Collections of Church Notes. Norfolk Records Office. c. 1740.

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