Record Details

NHER Number:1044
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Gayton Thorpe


The oldest parts of this round-towered church date to the Saxon or Norman period. The rest was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Fragments of stained glass have been found in the churchyard although there is no stained glass in the present building.


  • The Late Saxon or Norman round tower of St Mary's Church, Gayton Thorpe  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 7450 1852
Map Sheet:TF71NW

Full description

August 1960. Listed, Grade I.
Listing Description excerpt:
Parish church, early 12th century, mainly of flint with stone dressings, green slate roof. Gable parapet to nave, chancel and porch. Round west tower, nave, chancel…Gabled south porch with plain continuous chamfered arch…Vestry of 1900 across opposing north doorway… roof repaired 1900…18th-century panelling to east wall..”
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current listing details.
P. Watkins (HES), 9 January 2022.

1975. Stray Find.
Found in molehill, 10m west of tower:
Fragment of stained glass (no stained glass in church).
A. Rogerson (NAU), 1975.

1978. Stray Find.
Found on edge of path, west of tower:
Medieval unglazed sherd.
A. Rogerson (NAU), 20 August 1978.

July 1981. Field Observation.
Visit by E. Rose (NAU).
Saxon and Norman round tower; 14th to 15th century.
See (S2).
E. Rose (NAU), 2 July 1981.

22 July 1993. NLA air photography.
Church visible.
M. Brennand (NLA), 8 February 2001.

The tower includes 'silver carr' stone, as used at Castle Rising, Brancaster, Reedham etc, and quarried in the Castle Rising area. See NHER 56217.
D. Gurney (HES), 31 October 2011.

August 2012. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of groundworks associated with installation of new surface-water drainage system.
These works demonstrated the presence of particularly deep subsoil deposits in several parts of the churchyard, with natural chalk deposits only exposed in the base of two of the three deep soakaway pits excavated (at depths of 1.6m and 1.25m). The connecting pipe trenches were much shallower and therefore only disturbed the uppermost portion of this deposits. No archaeologically-significant features or deposits were identified. Finds were limited to 64 fragments of disarticulated human bone, all of which were stored on site for later reburial.
See report (S3) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 9 January 2022.

Visit with DAC. June 2015
Round western tower with large blocks of quartzite (silver Carr in previous entry) possibly re-used from nearby Roman villa (HER 3743) see (S4) for stone. Three carstone ashlar quoins define the original width of nave widened to the north. Tower is an addition to an existing west wall. Fine tower arch with chamfered imposts partly covered by masonry of tower suggesting that, although not exactly contemporary, provision for it was made from the first. Ashlar dressings to jambs, rubble arch. At first floor triangular-headed opening which led into the roof space of the original lower nave. Very large double-splayed window with ashlar frame. Gable of original nave visible. Present bell stage with double openings within chevron-decorated containing arches. This is probably an addition when nave walls heightened.
Early bell with inscription kept in vestry.
S. Heywood (HES), 12 June 2015.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1993. TF 7418H - J.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Map: J. R. P.. Plan. Gayton Thorpe St Mary's church..
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Photograph of St Mary's Church, Gayton Thorpe. 18 July.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, B. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 353-354.
---Leaflet: The Church of St Mary, Gayton Thorpe..
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Grants given to 18 county churches. 17 February.
---Leaflet: Stilgoe, E.M.. 1993. The Church of St Mary, Gayton Thorpe.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Late Saxon. Gayton.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1077632.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1981. Building Report. Building Report.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2012. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at St Mary’s Church, Gayton Thorpe, Norfolk. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB303R.
<S4>Article in Serial: Allen, J., Rose, E. & Fulford, M.. 2003. Reuse of Roman stone in the Reedham area of East Norfolk: intimations of a possible 'lost' Roman fort.. Britannia. Vol XXXIV, pp 129-141.

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