Record Details

NHER Number:1119
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, North Elmham


A large and ornate church. The chancel is Norman, altered in the 13th century when the nave arcades were built. The arcades were raised, the tower begun and aisles refenestrated in the 14th century. The upper storey of the tower, the north and south transeptal chapels, and new windows were made in the 15th and 16th centuries. Inside is an important set of carved bestiary bench ends, a rood screen and preserved crocket and stiff leaf capitals above the north door.


  • St Mary's Church in North Elmham  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 98817 21501
Map Sheet:TF92SE

Full description

Large and ornate church. The chancel is basically Norman, altered in 13th century; nave arcades of latter date. Arcades raised and aisles refenestrated in 14th century. Tower, south chapel, and new windows made in 15th and 16th centuries.
Magnificent and important set of carved bestiary benchends. Important rood screen.
See report (S1) and photographs (S2) and (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 24 November 2000.

Press cuttings (S4) to (S6) in file.

This is one of the sixty-five Norfolk churches selected for (S7).
Listed (S8).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

The church stands on a hilltop immediately to the south of the Saxon cathedral (NHER 1014). Excavations have demonstrated that it stands on the southern edge of the cathedral graveyard and on the east side of the Middle to Late Saxon settlement. The tower is built of knapped flint, less well-constructed on the northern side where a lump of ironbound conglomerate is visible. On the west face of the tower a Galilee porch has been formed between buttresses. The interior of this porch is rib-vaulted, the central boss showing the Coronation of the Virgin.
The exterior of the church (with the exception of the tower and possibly the south porch) was re-faced in 1864 and is now composed of knapped black Brandon flints.
Information from (S1).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 4 January 2008.

March 2009.
Church awarded £87,000 for essential maintenance work
see (S9) in file
H. White (NLA), 4 March 2009

Monument Types

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF 9821A..
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1903. Hundred of Launditch. The Churches of Norfolk. pp 60-72.
---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. pp 568-569.
---Leaflet: Wade-Martin, S. & P.. 1979. St Mary's Church, North Elmham..
---Monograph: Hart, S.. 2010. Medieval Church Window Tracery in England. pp 90, 120.
---Photograph: St Mary's Church. Print.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. 2000. Building Survey.
<S2>Photograph: Various.
<S3>Photograph: Rose, E.. 2000. TWV 20 - 22.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. More help for church. 8 March.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1994. Medieval carving snatched from church. 24 August.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2001. Picture of pulpit.. 18 April.
<S7>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S8>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1306186.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. Historic churches awarded millions of pounds for essential maintenance work. 4 March.

Related records - none

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