Record Details

NHER Number:6912
Type of record:Building
Name:SS Peter and Paul's Church, Knapton


This church is mainly 14th century, with 15th century remodelling and a restoration of 1882. The offset west tower is topped with a weather vane based on a drawing by the Norfolk artist John Sell Cotman. This church has one of the most interesting roofs in Norfolk, if not the country. A carpenter's masterpiece dating to 1504, this double hammerbeam roof is seventy feet long and over thirty feet wide, adorned with 138 carved and painted angels. Also worthy of note are a 13th century raised octagonal font with an inscribed cover of 1704, a partly restored 15th century screen with 16th century gates and a pulpit in 18th century style that actually dates to the 1882 restoration. Early medieval coffin slabs can be seen at the west end, and there is a reader's table made up of bits and pieces of medieval and Jacobean wood.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3075 3417
Map Sheet:TG33SW

Full description

September 1976. Visited.
13th century octagonal font with cover dated 1704 bearing Greek palindrome inscription NIYON ANOMHMA MH MONAN OYIN ( Wash thou, not only my face, but my transgression).
Church 14th century with a very fine double hammerbeam roof of 1504.
See brief notes (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 16 September 1976.
Listed grade I. (S2).

This is one of the sixty five Norfolk churches selected for (S3). Press cuttings (S4) in file.
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

November 2014. Inspection
Report makes some observations not made elsewhere. The odd position of the tower was not the result of a change of plan but clearly deliberate from the first as demonstrated by the straight joint on the north wall close to the tower showing that provision for the tower was made. The slighly later building of the tower was separated from the nave at first - a practice commonly observed in other medieval churches where towers took long to build and tended to settle at a different rate from the nave. On aisled churches this is seen by a different span to the westernmost bay as at St Agnes Cawston for example (NHER 7468). The purpose of the of centre positon for the tower was to give prominence to the great west window of cusped 'Y' tacery. The heightening of the nave, the insertion of the nave windows with semicircular headed arches and the construction of the fabulous roof took place in the early 16th century. The double hammerbeam roof has painted figures which are almost certainly original in large part. Restored by George Gilbert Scott from 1882. In 1930 a tiebeam which crossed in front of the chancel arch was taken down and replaced with hammerbeams. The only evidence which survives in the building of this alteration is the slighly truncated brace to the easternmost truss. (A photo of roof before the removal of the tie beam can be seen in the guide book). Iconoclast damage occurs only up to wall plate level with the prophets' faces on the wall posts cut off and the angels on the aslaring. Eight medieval tomb covers survive lined up against the west wall and a ninth in the tomb recess on the south wall. Gibert Scott's plan shows them scattered about the church where they presumably covered actual graves. It was during the restoration and the re-flooring that the covers were moved. For further details and explanations (See S6).
S. Heywood (HES), 5 January 2015.

Monument Types

  • CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • 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)
  • ROOD SCREEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOD SCREEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG 3034A-C.
---Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1808. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol VIII. 548.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1900. Hundred of North Erpingham. Vol V. pp 227-235.
---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 581-582.
---Publication: 1834. Woodward Correspondence. p.74ff 2.
---Leaflet: Loraine, H.R.. 1963. Knapton: some notes on the church and the manor..
---Leaflet: Loraine, H.R.. Knapton: some notes on the church and the manor.. Leeder & Son, Bank Loke, North Walsham.
---Leaflet: H.R. Loraine. 1970. Knapton. Some notes on the Church and the manor.. Rounce & Wortley Ltd.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013-2014. [Articles on the plans to save the roof at St Peter and Paul's Church, Knapton].
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1976. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
<S3>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990-1997. [Photographs of the roof at SS Peter and Paul's Church, Knapton].
<S5>Newspaper Article: 1997. Eastern Daily Press. 16 June.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2014. The Church of SS Peter and Paul, Knapton.

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