Record Details

NHER Number:4329
Type of record:Building
Name:St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth

Summary

This church is said to be largest parish church in Britain and has extremely wide aisles. It was originally a Benedictine priory church. This priory church building was completed in 1119. The base of the tower of the present church is Norman but very little of the rest of the Benedictine church remains. Throughout the medieval period the church was altered and expanded. The aisles were widened in the 13th century, the south porch was added in the 14th century and new windows were put in the north wall in the 15th century. The church was divided into three in the 16th century when the different parts were used by different denominations. These parts were joined again in the 19th century when the church was restored. However much of this work can no longer be seen as the church was gutted in 1942 by bombing and subsequent fire. The interior was rebuilt between 1957 and 1960. Remains of a charnel house have been recorded in the large churchyard which is now being managed and extended as a park by the local council.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 5243 0803
Map Sheet:TG50NW
Parish:GREAT YARMOUTH, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

St Nicholas's Church.

June 1953. Listed, Grade II*.
Listing Description excerpt:
"Parish church. Founded in association with a Benedictine Priory 1101 by Bishop Herbert de Losinga and completed in 1119. The base of the tower is early 12th century, the remainder rebuilt in stages throughout 13th century. Derelict state in 17th and 18th centuries: north nave aisle removed 1705, replaced 1847 by JH Hakewill. East end rebuilt 1813 by PH Wyatt, again rebuilt and lengthened 1862 by JP Seddon. Further restorations in 1847, 1862 and 1889 (the last by JL Pearson). Fire-bombed in 1942 and gutted completely leaving only the external walls, most of which were by then 19th century, rebuilt 1957-60 by Stephen Dykes Bower. Flint, mostly knapped, and ashlar dressings. Copper roof cladding."
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current listing details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

Mid 1970s.
Record made of gargoyles at St Nicholas' Church - see drawings (S2)-(S5).
H. Mellor (HES), 20 June 2014.

April 1977. Building Survey.
Claimed to be largest parish church in England. Founded as Benedictine priory church in 1119. Work of all periods from Norman to modern (restored after bomb damage). Traces of charnel chapels, etc. in yard.
For full details see report (S6).
Compiled by E. Rose (NAU), 1 October 1980. Information from record card (S7).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

April 1997. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of pipe trench dug to south, west and north of the church.
A pipe trench excavated immediately to the west of the church revealed two very fragmentary lumps of in-situ masonry. These were inline with the north and south walls and were probably part of the former west transept or 'Bachelors Aisle'.
See report (S8) and NHER 65454 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

This is one of the sixty five Norfolk churches selected for (S9).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

October 2006. Watching Brief.
Maintained during excavation of service trench to south of church.
A flint and lime mortar feature seen at the west end of the trench probably formed part of the foundation for the south aisle.
See report (S10) and NHER 65454 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

June 2011.
The history of St Nicholas Church has been chronicled in a book by a local historian, Michael Boon, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the start of restoration work on the church.
See newspaper article (S11) for further details.
D. Lefeuvre (HES), 8 August 2011.

Renovation work continues on the church, to replace balustrades which were damaged by bombers during the Second Wold War. The ironwork is being replaced by steel which will stop the stone from cracking.
See newspaper article (S12) for further details.
M Langham-Lopez (HES), 26 November 2012.

See NHER 65454 for further information on the churchyard of St Nicholas' Church, including significant archaeological discoveries. In 1998 a number of 18th- and 19th-century tombs and memorials within the churchyard were listed Grade II. These are now recorded separately as NHERs 65455-65459. The railings and associated gates and gate posts to the west and south of the churchyard were also listed Grade II. These are recorded as NHER 65460.
P. Watkins (HES), 15 March 2022.

Monument Types

  • CHARNEL HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GRAVE SLAB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOMB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1119 AD to 2100 AD)
  • GARDEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOMB (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COFFIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Worship, F. 1849. Crowmer monument, Yarmouth Church. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol II pp 35-42.
---Article in Serial: King, T. W. 1849. Remarks on some ancient shields in the ceiling of the south aisle of St. Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol II pp 149-182.
---Article in Serial: King, T. W. 1852. Further Remarks on the Ancient Shields in Yarmouth Church. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol III pp 71-74.
---Article in Serial: Manning, C. R. 1864. Lost brasses. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VI pp 3-26. pp 25-26.
---Aerial Photograph: TG5208A, B.
---Article in Serial: Cozens-Hardy B. 1934. Norfolk Crosses. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXV Pt II pp 297-336. p 333.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. Church could face £200,000 bill for repairs. 14 May.
---Article in Serial: Wood, R. 1999. The Chantry Certificates of Norfolk: Towards a Partial Reconstruction. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 287-306.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1977. Old Yarmouth. 16 November.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1995. TG5207/ABM,ABS,ABT.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. TG5208/U, V, T.
---Drawing: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 494-498; Pl 106.
---Publication: Great Yarmouth Historical Buildings, Ltd.. 1928. Historic Yarmouth and Neighbourhood. An Account of the recent visit of the Suffolk Archaeologists to the Town and Neighbourhood.. 19 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987-1989. [Articles on the £750 000 restoration work needed at St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Plea for crumbling church. 12 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Tombstone led Ron to terror of the seas. 26 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992-1999. [Articles on the funding and restoration work undertaken at St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1993. Old bones mystery. 20 April.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. Ancient chest back in church after 50 years. 1 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. [unknown]. Sad sight of church after devastating air attack. 15 October.
---Publication: Eccleston, A. W.. 1959. The Rise Of Great Yarmouth.
---Newspaper Article: Great Yarmouth Mercury. [unknown]. Fire-ravaged church rising from ashes. [unknown].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. On a mission to safeguard our churches. 26 December.
---Publication: 1836. Woodward Correspondance. p.60.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Grants given to 18 county churches. 17 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Town's memorial to bodysnatchers. 19 October.
---Photograph: 1988. School of St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth. Print.
---Monograph: Styan, K.E.. 1902. A Short History of Sepulchral Cross Slabs.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. A holy site receives new honour. 10 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Service marks 70 years since raid. 14 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Secrets linger over wartime destruction. 23 June.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 143-146; Pl 7.
---Article in Serial: Morant, A.W. 1872. Notices of the Church of St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VII pp 215-248.
---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 1096813.
<S2>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S3>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S4>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S5>Illustration: Ashley, S.. Mid 1970's. Drawing of a gargoyle at St Nicholas of Great Yarmouth.. Card. Unknown.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S7>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S8>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival, J. and Forrest, K. 1998. Results of Watching Brief at St Nicholas' Churchyard, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 271.
<S9>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2006. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB072R.
<S11>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Landmark date for church remembered. 11 June.
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Stonemasons face a high-level challenge. 16 November.

Related records

65454Parent of: Churchyard of St Nicholas' Church (Monument)

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