Record Details

NHER Number:8175
Type of record:Building
Name:All Saints' Church, Rackheath


This brick and flint church dates mainly to the 14th century but has earlier features including a 13th century arcade with octagonal pillars. Like many churches it underwent alterations in the Victorian period (around 1840) and it was at this time that the unusual underfloor heating system was installed. Other notable features include the numerous brass plaques and monuments commemorating wealthy individuals from the parish, and visitors should particularly study those of 1698, 1723 and 1746. In the recent past this building fell into disuse and disrepair as the isolated location caused parishioners to go elsewhere for their services. However, restorations instigated by the Victoria and Albert Museum and taken up enthusiastically by local people have saved this church from an ignominious fate. By 1985 the church had replacement windows and flooring and many original fittings had been returned to pride of place inside the building. All this has meant the church once again functions in the parish to provide a place of meeting and worship.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2702 1496
Map Sheet:TG21SE

Full description

Formerly Great Rackheath parish (medieval).
Flint with lower east quoins of stone, upper of tile: much brick in upper walls. Tower of squared flint and south aisle.
All early 14th century: north door only 1.2m (4ft) high, simple pointed arch, blocked in modern brick, perhaps earliest part; south door also simple, with small porch with headstops.
Chancel south windows simple Y-tracery, south aisle cusped Y-tracery, with external grotesque headstops; belfry windows the same (also nave north window but 19th century, as is west window, a broad lancet) east window Decorated.
South clerestory of quatrefoils, cut by aisle roof external flushwork panelling only at ends.
Three bay arcade with octagonal pillars; chancel arch in same style, but tower arch narrow, with multi-chamfered top, slightly askew; marks of staircase inside, cutting west window.
(S1) says that the tower ceiling is the old pulpit sounding board, but this seems to have been replaced.
19th century plaster ceilings in nave and chancel.
Bannerstaff locker in west wall.
Piscina inside south door, cusped piscina and large simple sedilia in chancel, also tomb recess.
Rood stair base, but turret has collapsed (two painted panels of rood screen discovered in pew 1865, taken to rectory - where now? (S2). Base was in situ then (E. Rose (NAU)); a large external buttress and small window has replaced it.
Upper rood door strangely twisted, blocked.
Excellent series of monuments - best are 1698, 1723, 1746, but also whole range of 18th - 20th century
17th - 18th century floor tombs.
Brass matrix.
Formerly old stained glass in clerestory, and good glass of 1854 in south windows, now all smashed.
(S3) notes a carved octagonal font, now removed, and says plate was: alms dish, London, 1621: flagon 1743; cup 1755.
Unusual 19th century under floor heating system.
Derelict 19th century brick vestry adjoins.
Some good gravestones in overgrown yard.
Railed vault at east end church, now rectangular, is on old prints semi circular.
Church empty and heavily vandalised, but restoration proposed.
Visited E. Rose (NAU) 20 July 1977.

Some restoration undertaken, windows glazed, floor reinstated, but one recent plaque now removed.
Remains of vestry at east end south aisle now removed (it was shown by Ladbrooke) revealing blocked south chancel window.
Font was of 1639, has been stored and replaced.
E. Rose (NAU), 25 August 1980.

Architect reports that in restoring monument south. Wall south Aisle black letter wallpainting found.
Photographed by him.
Appropriate section from (S9) in file.

Worked flint found in the churchyard is recorded under NHER 51237.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 5 February 2008.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2714A-C, F-J, M, N, K, L, Q-T.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1905. Hundred of Taverham. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XV. pp 110-116.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 2715P - R (NLA) 19-JUN-1996.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG 2715W - X, AA - AB.
---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 641-642.
---Leaflet: 1986. All Saints Church, Rackheath..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
<S2>Article in Serial: Plunkett, G. A. F. 1979. Norfolk Church Screens - 1865 Survey. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVII Pt II pp 178-189. p 186.
<S3>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. p 300.
<S4>Illustration: Ladbrooke. [unknown].
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. Americans aid church restoration. 11 August.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1977. Museum bid to save Rackheath Church. 14 July.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985. The happy story of a Norfolk church. 28 September.
<S9>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 23; p 50.

Related records - none

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