Record Details

NHER Number:1346
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Holme next the Sea


A medieval and later parish church. The oldest visible sections are the 13th century sedilia and piscina. The tower and chancel, along with a nave that does not survive, were built around 1400 in the Perpendicular style. This a very early date for the use of the Perpendicular style in Norfolk and as a result the church is an important one. The medieval nave and aisles were demolished in 1777/1778 and a new nave was built reusing some medieval stonework. Further alterations were made during the late 19th century. Inside are a large medieval mortar and the remains of a fine 17th century tomb.


  • St Mary's Church, Holme Next The Sea.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • St Mary's Church, Holme Next The Sea.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 7071 4343
Map Sheet:TF74SW

Full description

13th century sedilia and piscina. Otherwise church rebuilt firstly around 1400 in Perpendicular style, very early for Norfolk, then again in 1777/1778 when nave replaced by Classical erection faced in stone to south but reusing some windows. Further alterations in late 19th century.
Church contains a large medieval mortar, and remains of a fine 17th century tomb.
See report (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 8 July 1994.

December 2008. Watching Brief, from Context 1.
A black-glazed floor tile of probable post- medieval date was noted immediately adjacent to the rear church wall. The remains of a chalk wall was identified in the north-east to south-west oriented section of the trench. A second chalk wall was identifed 4 meters to the south- west of the first. Samples were analysed and identified as medieval. A fragment of painted window glass and six large chamfered chalk blocks were also located in the area of the wall. These blocks would have been plinth stones, of the sort still visible on the current church building. The thickness of the two chalk walls suggests that the first wall was an internal wall whilst the second was an exterior wall. The exterior wall is liekly to have been the west wall of the north aisle, demolished in 1777. The presence of the internal wall suggests the existence of an entrance hall at the west end of the church, or perhaps a small chapel, bapistry or mausoleum. A thin layer of mortar to the east of the wall was interpreted as the remains of a floor, and was dated to the 13th or 14th century by pottery recovered from the underside of the surface.
Two 0.3m wide sections were cut through the church walls to allow room for a new pipe. Damage to the remains was limited. A burial was disturbed by machine at the south- west corner of the church tower at a depth of only 1.04m from the current ground surface. A second burial was also identifed, to the south of the first. No grave cuts were visible for either burial. A second section of medieval wall was identifed alongside the east wall of the church tower. This wall wa sidentifed as the southern wall of the old south aisle of the church, again demolished in 1777. The western wall of the south aisle still remains, as it was incorporated into the tower in the 15th century. The very western end of the south wall is still visible above ground as a sort of butress against the east wall of the church tower. A scatter of disarticulated bones was identified to the south of the church, above two further complete burials. A shroud pin was recovered from one of these burials. A tiny fragment of the shroud survived near the end of the pin, preserved by the metal corrosion. A fifth burial was identified to the south, and pottey recovered from the area has been dated to the late medieval period.
See report (S3) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.80) [1].
H. White, (NLA), 25 August 2009. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 20 June 2020.

Monument Types

  • BURIAL (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FONT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • DRESS PIN (Unknown date)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PAINTED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Management Statement
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 2001. Addenda to building report. Building Report.
---Correspondence: Rose, E.. 2001. Correspondence regarding NHER 1346.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1998. Friends help keep church in tip-top condition. 18 May.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 425-426.
---Leaflet: 1982. St Mary's Church, Holme-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1994. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Photograph: Westall, S.. 2008. MVB.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Westall, S. 2009. An Archaeological Watching Brief at St Mary's Church, Holme next the Sea (amended). NAU Archaeology. 2003.

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