Record Details

NHER Number:8647
Type of record:Building
Name:Ruins of Church of St Mary, Tower Road


St Mary's Church, formerly the parish church of Burgh St Mary, survives in ruins. The standing remains consist of a round tower with octagonal belfry stage, portions of the north wall of the nave, and a very short section of the west wall. Window details suggest that the round tower and nave were constructed in the 11th or early 12th century while documentary evidence indicates that the belfry stage of the tower was constructed in the 15th century. Repairs to the roof were commissioned in 1524 and further repairs to the tower in 1549. However, 1554 was the last year a rector was recorded. After this time the parish of Burgh St Mary appears to have been combined with Burgh St Margaret, indicating that the village has likely contracted. By 1602 St Mary’s was described as decayed and having been converted into a barn.


  • The ruins of St Mary's Church, Burgh St Mary  © Norfolk County Council


Grid Reference:TG 4549 1413
Map Sheet:TG41SE

Full description

September 1962. Listed, Grade II.
Listing Description:
Ruins of parish church. 12th century, altered 14th century, bequests to repair of tower 1459, nave and chancel re-roofed 1524 and 1526 respectively. West tower and fragments of north nave wall survive. Circular 2 stage tower with 14th century octagonal belfry stage constructed of flint and some brick. North and south ringing chamber windows partially blocked. Arched west window to lower stage. Brick jambs to belfry windows remain showing that only alternate facets had windows. Triple hollow chamfered brick tower arch looks into nave. Mutilated north nave door opening and, further east, remains of one high window.
Information from (S1).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 10 March 2009.

Ruined tower.
Formerly parish church of Burgh St Mary with a round and octagonal tower, 11th century with 15th century addition.
See (S2) for further details.
E. Rose (NAU)

1991. Survey.
Burgh St Mary was visited during a survey of ruined and disused churches of Norfolk.
The remains consist of a round tower with octagonal belfry stage, portions of the north wall of the nave and a very short section (less than 1m long) of the west wall. The belfry has four single lancet windows (facing north, south, east, and west), and there are single windows below the belfry stage on the north and south which are blocked with brickwork. The west side of the tower has a pointed window only 2m above the ground. On the east, there is a doorway above the pointed tower arch and the gable line of the nave roof is visible above this. Inside the tower, square holes for floor timbers were identified approximately 5m above the ground. The quoins of the north-west corner of the nave have been robbed, and a large hole in the north wall may represent a doorway. There are also remnants of a double-splayed window in the north wall, which may have originally have been rounded. To the east, the junction between the nave and the chancel remains visible despite robbing of the quoins. The chancel was only 0.3m narrower than the nave.
The window details suggest that the round tower and nave were constructed in the 11th or early 12th century while the documentary evidence indicates that the belfry stage of the tower was constructed in the 15th century (S3). Ten marks were given to a new roof in 1524 and 13s. 4d. was given for the emendation and reparation of the tower in 1549 (S3). Bryant (S4) indicates that St Mary's had an apse, which Batcock (S5) believes is possible.
1554 was the last year that two rectors were recorded for Burgh, after which only one rector was recorded for the two churches. This suggests that the village had contracted and St Mary's was likely abandoned around this time. A 1602 account of ruined and decayed churches notes for St Mary's: 'The church decaied, profaned and made a Barne, by one Mr. Baker, sometyme Alderman of Norwich, and fermor or Proprietaire of the same' (S6).
See (S5) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 18 March 2009.

There is an upper door on the east side of the tower.
The footings of an apse were formerly visible.
Rectors are listed from 1317 to 1554 when the parish was combined with St Margaret's.
See (S7) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA) 8 January 1996.

September 2005. Norfolk NMP.
The remains of St Mary’s Church, formerly the parish church of Burgh St Mary and now in the civil parish of Fleggburgh, are visible on aerial photographs (S8 and S9). The grid reference of this church has been corrected from TG 4548 1411 to TG 4549 1413. The standing remains of the west tower and part of the north wall of the nave are visible on aerial photographs. The church has an 11th century origin and was disused by 1600, see (S5).
J. Albone (NMP), 26 September 2005

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 41 SE 3 [4].
---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. p 419.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Fleggburgh.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1051020.
<S2>Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1931. The Ruined Churches of Norfolk. p 15.
<S3>Article in Serial: Cattermole, P. and Cotton, S. 1983. Medieval Parish Church Building in Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVIII Pt III pp 235-279. p 242.
<S4>Serial: Bryant, T. H.. 1898-1915. The Churches of Norfolk. Vols 1-19. Vols 1-19.. 1899, p 64.
<S5>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 89; p 52.
<S6>Article in Serial: Tymms, S.. 1866. Ruined and Decayed Churches, 1602.. The East Anglian or Notes and Queries. Vol 2, pp 75-6, 89-90, 223-5, 231-33. p 232.
<S7>Article in Serial: Bent, F.. 1995. The Ruined Churches of the Fleggs.. Yarmouth Archaeology. p 17.
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72001 015 04-MAR-1972.
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 0830 11-AUG-1988 (NCC 3923).

Related records

MNO6086Related to: Ruins of Church of St. Mary Tower Road Burgh St Margaret FLEGGBURGH (Revoked)

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