Record Details

NHER Number:8683
Type of record:Building
Name:Holy Trinity Church, Caister on Sea


This medieval church was fully restored in 1894. In 1967/1968 the foundations of a medieval chantry chapel were discovered outside the north wall, along with two 16th century buttons and Roman pottery. Although the font is 15th century, it was brought to the church in 1902 from a garden in Eye, Suffolk. Excavations in 2004 immediately to the north of the church revealed large quantities of unworn grey mortaria, suggesting the presence of a kiln nearby. To date, this site is the first to provide evidence of manufacture of grey mortaria in Britain, and therefore is of national importance. This is particularly interesting given the site's proximity to Caister-on-Sea Roman fort.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5199 1227
Map Sheet:TG51SW

Full description

1947. Listed Grade II*.
Listing Description excerpt:
"Parish church. 13th-century origins, altered [in] 15th century. Much restored 1894, roofs tiled 1976. Flint with ashlar dressings. West tower, nave, south aisle and chancel. Three-stage tower, externally only two stages apparent. Diagonal stepped buttresses to west...Gabled south porch supported on diagonal buttresses and entered through wave moulded arch...Against chancel a gabled 20th-century vestry...Nave roof famous for contract of 1330 [(S1)] but replaced 1785...Large octagonal 15th-century font…"
Information from (S2).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S2) for the current listing details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 11 February 2022.

1967 to 1968.
Foundations of chantry chapel found beside north wall with two skeletons under floor 3m by 4.2m (10 feet by 14 feet) inside. Walls 0.6m (2 feet) thick, also found two 16th century buttons linked by wire and Roman pottery.
See (S3).

(S4) notes a local legend of tomb on top of the tower, derived from the odd gabled tower roof.
E. Rose.

The 15th century font, carved with the symbols of the evangelists, was found in a garden in Eye, Suffolk in the 19th century. It was brought to Holy Trinity Church in 1902.

August 2004. Excavation and Watching Brief. Contexts 10-69.
Excavations to the north of the church revealed significant Roman features in the form of a pit and a curvilinear ditch. Both features contained large amounts of unworn grey mortaria pottery, suggesting the presence of a kiln nearby. To date this site is the first to provide evidence of the manufacturing source of grey mortaria in Britain, and thus is of national significance. This is particularly interesting with reference to the chronology and establishment of the nearby Roman fort (NHER 8675).
The foundation trench for the north wall of Holy Trinity Church was exposed during the excavations, along with a substantial number of 19th century burials.

Subsequent archaeological monitoring during the excavation of service trenches associated with the new structure identified further 19th century burials and a brick vault, along with redeposited Roman material.
See report (S5) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S6).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 23 January 2007.

October 2005.
Dating is difficult, following thorough restoration in 1894.
Nave is 13th century. South aisle added around 1300. Nave re-roofed in in 1330, replaced in 1785.
Information from (S2).
D. Robertson (NLA), 12 October 2005.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • CHANTRY CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUTTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG5112A, B, D, E, J, K, M, N, Z, AA-AE, AG, AK-AM.
---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 424-425.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Artist whose talent was overlooked is in the spotlight. 4 July.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Caister On Sea.
---Article in Serial: [unknown]. Yarmouth Archaeology. Vol I, no 5.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2016. Dismay over decision to move gravestones to make room. 18 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2014. Historic bust is stolen from inside church. 9 May.
<S1>Publication: Harvey, J. 1975. Medieval Craftsmen. p 200.
<S2>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1287563.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1968. Caister couple find foundations of mystery chapel. 25 April.
<S4>Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1899. Hundreds of East and West Flegg. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol IV. pp 1-10.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Hall, R. V. 2005. Archaeological Monitoring and Excavation at Holy Trinity Church, Caister on Sea, Norfolk. Archaeological Project Services. 04/05.
<S6>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2006. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2005. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 124-136. p 125.

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