Record Details

NHER Number:10329
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Rockland St Mary


With its slim unbuttressed west tower, this parish church is mostly 14th century but was much restored in 1892-3 when the windows, nave roof and south porch were replaced. A north vestry was added in 1937. Inside, the font, though much recut, is 15th century.
Minor excavations in 2013 revealed the foundations of the south porch and an adjacent buttress. Both structures utilise bricks and are therefore likely to be broadly contemporary – most likely associated with renovations completed during the late 19th century.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3119 0398
Map Sheet:TG30SW

Full description

November 1959. Listed, Grade II*.
Listing Description:
Parish church. Mostly 14th century but much restored in 1892 to 93 when windows, roofs and south porch were replaced. Flint with ashlar dressings. Some brick to chancel. Nave roof of plain tiles, remainder of slate. West tower, nave and chancel. Square unbuttressed tower with string courses at each of the three stages. The tower tapers towards the parapet. Western lancet is ogeed and has an ogee hood. Brick rebated lancets to ringing chamber windows. Wide arched belfry windows below crenellated parapet. Nave supported on diagonal western buttresses and side buttresses to east. Gabled south porch with moulded entrance arch. Inner doorway wave and multiply roll moulded. Hood mould on head stops. Plank and muntin door with iron circular striking plate. Three two-light
Perpendicular south nave windows and two to north. All have square heads and hoods on labels. Between north windows is a flat-topped 20th century outbuilding in flint and brick. East end of chancel repaired in brick to the point of amounting to a reconstruction. On the south side are two rounded lights under a square hood, the spandrels glazed. The corresponding window to the north is blocked. One 19th century rounded light to the east of these to north and south. Chancel east window is a lancet.
Interior. Double chamfered tower arch without responds. 19th century scissor braced nave roof. Octagonal 15th century font with painted figures of Saints in niches to the stem. Bowl panels have shield bearing angels. Quadrant moulded chancel arch on circular responds which have tall polygonal bases and polygonal capitals. Three large tie beams remain of original chancel roof. Remainder comprises principals and one tier staggered butt purlins, probably 18th century.
Information from (S1).

See newspaper articles (S2), (S3) and (S4) in file.
E. Rose (NAU).

Inspection. August 2013
1892-3 Restoration shown on Herbert Green's plans. Nave windows, west buttresses, nave roof and porch were all replaced as specified. However, chancel was repaired differently and less well possibly owing to an economy-minded patron. The east wall remains intact with a simple wide lancet probably 13th century in date. It has an 18th century roof and the side walls have been repaired with plain brick work.
For further details see (S5).
S. Heywood (HES) 3 September 2013.

August 2013. Excavation.
Two exploratory trenches excavated adjacent to the west wall of the south porch, exposing the base of the structure and revealing some information on the construction of the porch itself and an adjacent buttress. Although the buttress and the porch were shown to be of differing builds, both have brick in their fabric suggesting that they are at least broadly contemporary; most likely associated with the 19th-century rebuilding of the porch. The interior wall of the porch was found to have collapsed inwards, into its foundation trench.
No evidence for an earlier structure was identified.
A medieval pottery sherd and an undatable brick or tile fragment were the only finds recovered.
See report (S6) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2013.215).
P. Watkins (HES), 10 August 2015. Amended 17 May 2019.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1300 AD to 2050 AD)
  • PARISH CHURCH (Post Medieval to Modern - 1892 AD to 2050 AD)
  • BUILDING (Modern - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BUILDING MATERIAL (Unknown date)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1901. Hundred of Henstead. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol VII. pp 60-65.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 615.
---Leaflet: Stedman, M. et al. 1978. Eleven Churches - A Guide to the Bramerton Group, Norfolk. Norwich Printing Services. pp 46-48.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1169589.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Rockland 'save our church'. 22 November.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Restored. 25 July.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Lost treasures restored to life. 16 March.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2013. The church of St Mary, Rockland St Mary.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cope-Faulkner, P. 2013. Archaeological Excavation at St Mary’s Church, Rockland St Mary, Norfolk. Archaeological Project Services. 101/13.

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