Record Details

NHER Number:1800
Type of record:Building
Name:St Withburga's Church, Holkham


The church occupies a large natural mound, once thought to be a Saxon site. The church was remodelled extensively in the late 19th century by J. K. Colling, and Late Saxon and Norman work was reputedly found. The present tower dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, and contains a rare example of a 19th century bell ringing machine. The arcades were built the 13th and 14th centuries, and a south chapel and clerestory were added in the 15th century. In the late 18th century the church was given various Gothick additions, all of which were removed by Colling. The church contains two 17th century memorials designed by Robert Pook under the sculptor Nicholas Stone, and a memorial of 1870 to Countess Juliana by Boehm. Roman and medieval pottery has been found in the churchyard.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 8779 4362
Map Sheet:TF84SE

Full description

2005. Site Visit.
Church on large natural mound; possibly a Saxon site given the unique dedication to St Withburga (allegedly her birthplace) and its ownership by West Dereham.

Very much reconstructed in 1868 to 1888 by Colling when it is said a west tower was found which he dated to the Saxon period; also much reused Norman stonework. It may be more probable that the building began as a cruciform Norman church, the west tower was a later addition, replaced in turn by the present south tower which is 13th century with 14th century belfry. Arcades are partly a 13th century scheme to replace the cruciform plan, completed in the 14th century, and extended in the 15th with a south chapel and clerestory. In the late 18th century there was a remodelling in Gothick style supposedly by Wyatt, all of which was removed by Colling.

Internal fittings mostly of 1869, but include some important 17th century memorials by Pook under Nicholas Stone; also the monument by Boehm to Countess Juliana who commissioned the rebuilding. Churchyard with interesting headstones

Unconfirmed local story of tower being used as telegraph station.
See (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 14 November 2005.

See notes and graveyard survey in file.

2002. Found in molehill in churchyard.
Roman body sherd greyware (weight 4g).
A. Rogerson (NLA), 19 November 2003.

16 March 1999. Bare soil south of church.
3 small sherds of medieval unglazed pottery including early medieval jar rim. Total weight 4g.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 30 March 2004.

(S2) in file.

Internal Fittings:
A World War memorial tablet is located within the church (S3). It is unclear as to whether this relates to World War One or World War Two.
P. Beers (HES), 05 February 2020.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TELEGRAPH STATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WAR MEMORIAL (TRIBUTE) (World War One to World War Two - 1914 AD? to 1945 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FONT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF8743A,B,D.
---Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1171134.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1996. TF8843/E.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1898. Hundred of North Greenhoe. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol II. pp 56-64.
---Monograph: Davison, A. 1988. Six Deserted Villages in Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 44. p 77.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 84 SE 7 [4]; TF 84 SE 12.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Unpublished Document: Baylis, P.J.. 1980. St Withburga, Holkham - Monumental Inscriptions, Church and Yard.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 411-413; Pl 103.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Holkham.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 2005. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Photograph: Rose, E.. 2005. LBD. 27-29.
<S3>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1450897.

Related records

39811Parent of: Mauseoleum, St Withburga's churchyard (Building)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2023 Norfolk Historic Environment Service