Record Details

NHER Number:2286
Type of record:Building
Name:St Peter and St Paul's Church, Watlington


A medieval church with Norman origins, almost entirely built of carstone, consisting of a west tower, aisled nave with a clerestorey, a large chancel and a south porch. Only the base of the Norman church tower survives. The church was rebuilt in grand style in around 1300 and the chancel was added in about 1340. The building was altered in the 15th century alterations and restored by the Victorians.


  • SS Peter and Paul's Church, Watlington. Photograph from  © S. Knott


Grid Reference:TF 6210 1119
Map Sheet:TF61SW

Full description

Church of Norman origins, base of tower survives. 13th century second stage may pre-date grand rebuilding of about 1300 of nave and aisles; chancel followed in about 1340. 15th century alterations. Ruins of sacristy. Very fine set of medieval carved benches, rood screen. Good 15th/16th century memorials.
See full report (S1) in file.
Bell renewal estimate (S2), church guide (S3) and press cuttings (S4) to (S7) in file.
Listed (S8).
E. Rose (NLA), 14 December 2001.

September 2007. ALSF NHER Enhancement Sub-Unit D.
A pretty medieval church, almost entirely built of carstone, consisting of a west tower, aisled nave with a clerestorey, a large chancel and a south porch. A masonry church of Norman date certainly stood on the site, as evidenced by re-used material, and it is quite possible that the base of the tower remains from this period. What is now the second stage of the tower dates from the 13th century. In about 1300 a major rebuilding scheme took place, when the present belfry was added to the tower, the nave rebuilt with aisles, the south porch added and the chancel and tower arches inserted. We do not know anything much about the pre 14th century appearance of the chapel other than the insertion of the arch, but in about 1340 it was given a new set of windows. North of the chancel stood a sacristy, now lost, though on the outside wall its aumbrey and piscina can still be seen. In the 15th century the tower was given a new west window, a set of pinnacles, a small spire (now gone) and a brick stair turret, though this might be a later 16th century addition. At this time the nave roof was removed and replaced by a clerestory with a lower nave roof and separate aisle roofs. Restoration took place in 1900 to 1902. The gently Victorianised interior has many medieval survivals, including fine carved bench ends of several of the Seven Deadly Sins, a rood screen and a 15th century font with figures of the Apostles, rather vandalised in the mid 16th century. The font cover dates to 1620 and has a later gilt swan or pelican on top. Also to be seen are very good 15th and 16th century memorials. The tower has six bells, two dating back to 1450, the others to 1910. These were restored in the late 1990s. The clock in the tower dates to 1920, and was given in thanks for the return of soldiers after World War One.
Information from (S8), (S9) and (S10).
M. Dennis (NLA), 18 September 2007.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Manning, C. R. 1864. Lost brasses. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VI pp 3-26. p 22.
---Aerial Photograph: TF6211 H,J.
---Publication: Boutell. 1854. Christian Monuments. p19. p 19.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1904. Hundred of Clackclose. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XIII. pp 305-317.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. [Articles on the stolen lead roof at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Watlington].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2014. Church left with huge repair bill for second time. 27 September.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 2001. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Correspondence: Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd, Whitechapel, London E1.. 1994. Estimate to re-hang bells, SS Peter and Paul's church, Watlington. 16 June.
<S3>Unpublished Document: 1992. Welcome. SS Peter and Paul's Church, Watlington, Norfolk.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1995-1997. [Articles on the restoration of the bells at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Watlington].
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Heritage projects celebrate lottery aid. 18 March.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1997. Music to their ears. 28 March.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1997. Bells ready to be rung. 22 July.
<S8>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1077890.
<S8>Website: Knott, S.. 2005. St Peter and St Paul, Watlington. 6 August 2007.
<S9>Monograph: Mortlock, D. & Roberts, C. 3: West and South-West Norfolk. 1985. The Popular Guide to Norfolk Churches..
<S10>Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 751.

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