Record Details

NHER Number:3131
Type of record:Building
Name:St Peter's Church, Guestwick


This 14th and 15th century church has a late 11th century tower. The tower was originally the central tower in a late 11th century church. The nave and chancel apse of this building were demolished before the present church was built, and were excavated in the 1980s. The tower includes Roman bricks and a 13th century wooden coffin slab have been reused as a doorway lintel in the tower and north aisle. A contorted skeleton and medieval/post medieval pottery and metalwork were also found during the excavations.


  • St Peter's Church, Guestwick.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 0611 2704
Map Sheet:TG02NE

Full description

Saxon or Saxo-Norman central tower and traces of nave and apse, with Roman brick, now on north side of church of 14th to 15th century. Good memorials. Unique? wooden coffin slab, 13th century (S15).
See reports ((S1) and (S2)) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 16 September 1982. Amended by A. Beckham (HES), 31 March 2020.

1982 to 1983. Excavation.
NAU excavations outside and to the north of standing building in advance of drainage works. Only the tower of the late 11th century church still stands. Excavation revealed aisleless nave and apsidal chancel, with tower in between. South transept probably added in 12th century. Nave and chancel were demolished and present church built in medieval period - the late 11th century tower now stands at east end of north aisle of present church. The chancel was internally rendered with whitewashed or painted mortar, and were robbed to foundation level only in some parts of the apse. A floor level which consisted of the upper surface of a truncated buried soil contained no evidence of Saxo-Norman activity.
Burial excavated - grave cut late medieval or post medieval layers and grave fill was sealed by 19th and 20th century rubble. No recent finds in grave fill. Skeleton was twisted, lower part of body was face down, skull was displaced. Cause of death is open to speculation. Medieval and post medieval metalwork. Thetford ware, medieval and post medieval pottery. Nine pieces of struck flint.
See published article (S3) for further details and drawing (S13). See also (S4), (S5) and (S6). The results of this work are also summarised in (S12).
D. Robertson (NLA), 23 January 2006 amended by M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 17 June 2013.

Graffiti in Bridewell Museum.
For coffin lid see (S5) and (S15).
E. Rose (NAU), 19 February 1986. Amended by A. Beckham (HES), 31 March 2020.

Press cuttings (S7) to (S9) in file.

January 2006.
Top stage of tower is 15th century and later. Aisles, nave and clerestory 15th century.
15th century piscina and sedilia, base of 15th century screen, 15th century font.
Information from (S10). See Also (S11).
D. Robertson (NLA), 23 January 2006.

May-September 2014.
This was one of four Norfolk churches included in a pilot study looking at the management of bats in historic churches. This study looked to research and develop management techniques that will allow the protection of heritage in ways that will not cause long-term detrimental impact on local bat populations. This and the other three churches were selected due to the known presence of Natterer's bats.
See report (S14) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 August 2019.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon to 21st Century - 851 AD to 2100 AD)
  • CHURCH (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • BRICK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NAIL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG0627A-D,.
---Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 530-531.
---Monograph: Daniell, C.. 1997. Death and burial in medieval England, 1066-1550.. pp 118-119.
---Photograph: EAK.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Photograph: 1983 excav: CLM-CLP,CBL, CSN13-30,CZP.
---Unpublished Document: Wingate, M. 1993. Specification for Repairs to Guestwick Church, Norfolk.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1978. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1982. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Rogerson, A.. 1982. Guestwick 3131.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Ashley, S.J. & Rogerson, A.. 1983. A Medieval Wooden Coffin Lid from Guestwick.
<S5>Article in Serial: Ashley, S. J. and Rogerson, A. 1985. A Medieval Wooden Coffin Lid from Guestwick. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXIX Pt II pp 216-217.
<S6>Article in Monograph: Rogerson, A. and Williams, P. 1987. The Late Eleventh Century Church of St. Peter, Guestwick. Three Norman Churches in Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. Rogerson, A. et al.. No 32 pp 67-80.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1983. [Article and letters to the editor regarding the excavation at Guestwick to locate the previous church].
<S8>Newspaper Article: Dereham and Fakenham Times. 1983. Exciting Find at Church Dig. 22 July.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Cash gift to 'forgotten' church. 31 March.
<S10>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England.
<S11>Unpublished Document: 2012. DAC Summer Tour Programme 2012: Salle; SS Peter and Paul, Reepham; St Mary, Whitwell; St Michael and All Angels, Wood Dalling; St Andrew, Thurning; St Andrew, Guestwick; St Peter.
<S12>Article in Serial: Youngs, S. M., Clark, J. and Barry, T. 1984. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1983. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XXVIII pp 203-265. pp 233-234.
<S13>Illustration: Ashley, S. 1985. Drawing of a medieval stone coffin lid from Guestwick. Film. 1:2.
<S14>Unpublished Contractor Report: Packman, C. et al. 2015. Management of Bats in Churches - a pilot. Project Report. English Heritage Research Project: 6199. English Heritage. 106/2015.
<S15>Correspondence: Butler, L. and Margeson, S. 1985. Letters between L. Butler and S. Margeson regarding a Late Saxon grave-marker from Barton Bendish and a wooden coffin lid from Guestwick. 25 and 30 January.

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