Record Details

NHER Number:1851
Type of record:Building
Name:St Nicholas' Church, Wells next the Sea


This is a vast, urban barn of a building, on the southern outskirts of the town. It is almost entirely Victorian, its medieval predecessor having been destroyed by fire in 1879 after being struck by lightning. It was rebuilt along its original 15th century lines, but the inside is mainly 19th century.


  • St Nicholas' Church, Wells next the Sea.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 9183 4316
Map Sheet:TF94SW

Full description

Said to have been of about 1200, rebuilt in 1450. Destroyed by fire 1879 and rebuilt.
For full details see report (S1) file.
E. Rose (NAU), 16 September 1980.

The churchyard includes the gravestone of Robert Baker of Wells, who was murdered in 1817 by James Johnson and Robert Hardiment.
See (S2) and (S3).
D. Gurney (NLA), 28 March 2006.

Diocesan Advisory Committee letter (S4) and press cuttings (S5) to (S12) in file. Listed (S13).
P. Aldridge (NLA), 20 September 2006.

January 1951. Listed Grade II*.
Listing Description Excerpt:
"Perpendicular in origin, but badly damaged in a fire in 1879 and almost wholly rebuilt to designs of Herbert Green. Reopened in 1883. S porch, organ and seating completed in 1887. NW vestry added 1966.
MATERIALS: Flint with stone dressings. Lead and slate roofs.
PLAN: Chancel with N and S chapels, nave with N and S aisles, N rood stair turret, NW vestry, S porch, and W tower."
Information from Listing Description (S13).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S13) for the current details.
H. Hamilton (HES), 12 July 2018. Amended by H. Hamilton (HES), 8 November 2019.

April 2011. Site visit.
A carved decorative stone panel and possible priest's door surround possibly moved following the church fire in 1879. They have been inserted into a gazebo in a garden close to the church.
See (S14) and drawings in file.
S. Howard (HES), 2 November 2011.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF9143 AK,AL.
---Article in Serial: Plunkett, G. A. F. 1979. Norfolk Church Screens - 1865 Survey. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVII Pt II pp 178-189. p 188.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. TF9143/AN - AV; TF9244/M.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1898. Hundred of North Greenhoe. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol II. pp 37-44.
---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. p 711.
---Website: Knott, S.. 2005. St Nicholas, Wells. 20 September 2006.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Bid to buy new church floor. 21 March.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Listing Notification. Notification. DNF5865.
<S1>Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service. NHER 1851.
<S2>Article in Serial: Welland, M.R.. 2005. The Wells Murder of 1817.. Wells Local History Group Occasional Publication. Vol 1.
<S3>Unpublished Document: A map of the murder scene (MC2210/1 938x8).
<S4>Correspondence: Cattermole, P. (DAC). 2005. Letter to E. Rose. 14 November.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1982. [Aerial photograph of Wells next the Sea focused around St Nicolas' Church]. 17 August.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. [Photograph of St Nichola's Church, Wells next the Sea]. 21 December.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1983. Church repairs again. 7 March.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. Art offers faces finance barrier.. 2 April.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. PCC plan to remove pews. 10 April.
<S10>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. [Reprint of a photograph pf St Nicholas' Church, Wells next the Sea]. 14 October.
<S11>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. [Articles on the dispute regarding the removal of 5 pews and the font to make way for a social area at St Nicholas' Church, Wells next the Sea].
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2000. Search over for the Master of the Bounty. 13 October.
<S13>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1230479.
<S14>Correspondence: Birdsall, N.. 2011. Decorative stone panel and possible preist's door from St Nicholas' Church, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.. 1 April.

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