Record Details

NHER Number:14175
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Roman Catholic Church and undated burials


St Mary's Roman Catholic Church was built in 1826, immediately following the Catholic Emancipation Act 1826. It is constructed of cut flint, with gault brick dressings and a slate roof, and has 4 bays with a projecting gabled porch ending in double doors. Between 1978 and 1982, several early inhumations possibly of Late Saxon date were discovered during repair work within the cellar and outside the foundations. These may be related to a burial ground associated with St. Mary's Church (NHER 5909).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 866 828
Map Sheet:TL88SE

Full description

April 1951. Listed, Grade II.
St Mary's Roman Catholic church.
Built 1826 immediately following the Catholic Emancipation Act 1826. Cut flint with gault brick dressings and slate roof. 4 bays, with a projecting gabled porch ending in double doors under an 8-vaned fanlight. Main wall pierced by 4 tall round-headed windows with glazing bars. Dentil eaves cornice and gabled roof. Rear similar.
INTERIOR: gallery at north-east end stands on square posts. Wall panelling. South-west end (liturgical east) with pairs of projecting unfluted Corinthian columns and pilasters carrying entablatures and an arch. Deeply coved ceiling.
Information from (S1).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 06 August 2008.

October 1978. Casual Find and Field Observation.
Human remains were recovered during groundworks for the repair of the foundations of the Roman Catholic church hall. The site was visited following this discovery. Animal bone, was recovered from the spoil heaps but otherwise only modern rubble was observed.
Preliminary analysis identfied the human bone as the rear portion of a skull, cranium and facial bones of an infant, five additional cranial fragments possibly from the latter, metacarpal, possible metatarsal, left pelvic bone, head of a femur, top of a radius, and four vertebrae.
The animal bone collected includes Bos (wild and domestic cattle) and ovicaprid (sheep/goat) remains. These might be compared with animal bone recovered from a Late Saxon context on the opposite side of the church (NHER 5866).
Information from (S1).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 06 August 2008.

November 1981. Casual Find and Field Observation.
The remains of at least two individuals and a Thetford ware pottery sherd were recovered during electrical work in the church cellar. Investigation of the site noted that the remains appear to have been part of in situ burials below a chalk block footing running below the church, parallel to the southeast wall and approximately 8 feet northwest of it. The burials appeared to be oriented generally east-west. The chalk block wall appears to have been an earlier structure which was re-used in the present church and house, constructed in 1826.
Northeast of the burials, behind the chimney of the room in the northwest corner of the Manse (NHER 46324), a three foot wide passage with a blocked door and a floor level about two feet below the floor level of the main house may also relate to an earlier building re-used in the structure.
See (S2) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 06 August 2008.

21 April 1982. Field Observation.
Further human skeletal remains were observed by E. Rose within the church cellar. The remains were located in a hole in the soil beneath the northeast wall of the church amongst modern pottery and glass which has apparently been recently deposited as well as below the southeast wall.
The blocked passage within the Manse (NHER 46324) was also inspected, and it was determined that this was likely not related to an earlier structure as the pammets (clay floor tiles) were seen to continue under the blocking wall.
See (S3) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 06 August 2008.

This site had previously been identified as the site of St Mary's Chapel (S2), which appears on Tom Martin's map (S5) opposite St Mary's Church (NHER 5909). Because of this, the inhumations discovered below the church and the possible evidence of an earlier structure (S3 and S4) was attributed to this earlier chapel. However, the chapel which appears on Tom Martin's map (S5) is actually St Margaret's Chapel (NHER 5908), which was located further west along London Road, at the modern London Road cemetery. Tom Martin's map is schematic in nature and does not reflect true distances between buildings. The early burials are much more likely associated with a burial ground attached to the adjacent St Mary's Church (NHER 5909).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 07 August 2008.

Monument Types

  • INHUMATION (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION? (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CHURCH (19th Century to 21st Century - 1826 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TL 88 SE 97.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 704.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1207963.
<S2>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Gregory, T.. 1981. Human remains found below Roman Catholic Church, Thetford. 16 November 1981.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1982. 14175 Thetford. Report by E. Rose 21 April 1982..
<S5>Map: Martin, T.. 1740. MSS map. 2.

Related records

46324Related to: The Presbytery, New Town (Building)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2024 Norfolk Historic Environment Service