Record Details

NHER Number:5022
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Bodney


A medieval parish church with later alterations. Fragments of Late Saxon carved stonework is incorporated into a buttress. To the east of the church, next to the chancel, are the grassed-over foundations of a rectangular building, possibly an earlier church.


  • St Mary's Church, Hilborough.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TL 8312 9884
Map Sheet:TL89NW

Full description

Thatched in Blomefield's time, but not now.
Nave and chancel in one.
2 fragments of reused Late Saxon interlace in northeast buttress, see (S1).
(S2) mentions an Late Saxon grave slab but no sign of this (does he mean the same thing?). The chancel piscina however has a 2 piece head that could be reused Late Saxon.
Several tiles in flint walls but probably not Roman.
Chancel arch is early 14th century, wide but considerably narrower than the church.
Blocked stone edged putlog holes in north wall.
All windows renewed: east window cusped and intersected tracery, follows the original, as shown on (S3). So does the chancel southeast window, cusped under a straight head, late Decorated. The chancel southwest window is lower in the wall; on (S3) it is similar to the southeast one but as restored it is more elaborate. (S3) then shows the two nave south windows at this lower height also; they are now higher, but have the original straight heads and inside, high pointed arches for inner frames, so this appears to be a mistake on (S3)'s part. Great west window restored as cusped, and north chancel window as a double lancet. All windows are deep splayed, and chancel southeast one is lowered to form a sedilia next to which is the piscina mentioned,with petalled bowl, and above this a cusped niche head of ?blocked niche. Plain niche and pointed on interior.
Rood stair on south with both doors unblocked, buttress on exterior.
Large Decorated octagonal font.
18th century memorials.
Jacobean pulpit.
Old carved benches.
?Elizabethan chalice and paten or cover.
Visited by E. Rose (NAU) 10 August 1977.

Vicar in 1865 noted 'sill' of a rood screen, see (S4).
E. Rose (NAU)

(S5) 1985 (grade II*); also mentions grassed foundations immediately east of chancel forming a square, suggests footings of earlier church, and lists these grade II separately.

(S6) gives an undated (but 18th century) account from the Frere Papers; 'So miserably out of repair tis scandalous, the roofe is only thatch'd with straw whose inside is now the receptacle of pigeons, owls etc which in great plenty leave on the floors and seats their noisome ordure which smells no less than the foullest dovehouse I ever saw. At the west end of the roof is placed a small bell no larger than what is generally used in some taverns and in such a like frame. The parish contains but four houses'.
E. Rose (NLA), 10 February 2004.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • GRAVESTONE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PISCINA (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FONT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. [Photograph of St Mary's Church, Bodney].
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 210.
---Leaflet: A guide to the churches and villages of the Hilborough group of parishes, Norfolk..
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Late Saxon. Hilborough.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1903. Hundred of South Greenhoe. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XII. pp 1-9.
<S1>Article in Serial: Fox. 1922. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Vol XXIII, p 24. p 24.
<S2>Publication: Williams, J.P.. [unknown].
<S3>Illustration: Ladbrooke. [unknown].
<S4>Article in Serial: Plunkett, G. A. F. 1979. Norfolk Church Screens - 1865 Survey. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVII Pt II pp 178-189. p 180.
<S5>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entries 1077285 and 1305303.
<S6>Article in Serial: Rutledge, P.. 2003. Presidential Address: The Frere Papers.. The Annual. The Bulletin of the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group. No 12, pp 3-12. p 11.

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