Record Details

NHER Number:4336
Type of record:Building
Name:St George's Church, Great Yarmouth


St George's church was built in 1714 by John Price of Wandsworth. The ground plan imitates that of St Clement Danes and develops the characteristic double exedrae by having at both ends of the building. At St Clement Wren used them out of necessity in order to fit the resricted site. The steeple is based on St James' Garlickhythe, London. After the church closed the pulpit and pews were moved to St Peter's. The pulpit and tester are now in use at St Nicholas'. The building has once been restored as a theatre and in 2010 about to be repaired and fully restored as a theatre. The plaster vaults which created the interna l space are not being rebuilt at this stage. Medieval and post medieval pottery fragments in Great Yarmouth Museum were labelled St George's church.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5261 0734
Map Sheet:TG50NW

Full description

St George's Chapel
1714 by John Price of Wandsworth. Ground plan imitates St Clement Danes. Corinthian style. Pulpit and pews removed to St Peter's when church derelict. Now restored as concert hall. Stone from demolished west transept of St Nicholas's used.
Compiled by E. Rose (NAU), November 1982. Information from record card (S1).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

In Great Yarmouth Museum is a box of sherds marked St George's Church; lead glazed earthenware and post medieval sherds. Formerly marked as NHER 4283 by mistake by W. Milligan (NCM).
Compiled by E. Rose (NAU), November 1982. Information from record card (S1).
This appears to be a reference to a collection of eight pottery sherds listed in the museum's catalogue as "...assorted medieval and other pottery, various glazes, 2 possibly coloured Delft, from St George's Church" (GRYEH : 1969.299). No other details are recorded. The museum also holds a collection of nine medieval pottery sherds that were "…found in the floor of St George's Chapel", which are logged as being a 'staff find' (GRYEH : 1974.5).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

June 1953. Listed, Grade I.
Listing Description:
"Church, now theatre. Built 1714 as a chapel of ease to St Nicholas [NHER 4329] by John Price of Wandsworth. Redundant in 1959, restored 1974 and opened as a theatre 1979. The ground plan is based on St Clement Danes, London. Red brick with ashlar dressings on a stone plinth course. The brick is laid in Flemish bond but is of header bond in the quadrants. Copper roof.
EXTERIOR: Two storeys; four-window range. The north and south sides are of four bays each, with giant pilasters supporting a Doric block entablature below a rebuilt parapet...The east and west ends are joined to the sides by means of double quadrants...One quadrant bay on north and south sides has a pedimented doorway. The church is entered from the west through a double-leaf door under a pediment. Pilasters rise up either side to a broken pediment containing a round-headed sash with glazing bars. Above the parapet is a tower of square section lit through a small sash to the west and with a clock face under a pediment to the north and south. There is a low open balustrade and then an open cupola with paired columns to the projections. On top of this is a polygonal lantern under an ogeed dome. Ball finial and weathervane...The upper east window is the only one to retain 18th-century glazing bars, though not of 1718. The east end has a pair of giant Corinthian pilasters supporting an open pediment on block entablatures. Panelled door with an arched overlight. The roof is low and hipped.
INTERIOR: the entrance narthex has a staircase right and left: turned balusters, ramped and wreathed moulded handrail, open string. The interior was formerly of six bays of panelled timber piers supporting a gallery. On the gallery were six Doric columns rising to a barrel-vaulted ceiling with subsidiary domes at the east end. These elements remain, but the lower pier panelling and the plaster vault has gone, leaving the roof timbers exposed. Roof of principal studs, curved tension braces to the upper wall plate and flat purlins. The barrel-vault formers remain. The east and west ends have a pair of Corinthian upper columns. The north side under the gallery has been partly partitioned off as a bar and the south side has been partitioned off to provide for changing rooms and other offices. The furnishings have been moved to the Church of St Nicholas."
Information from (S2).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S2) for the current listing details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 13 March 2022.

It is stated in (S3) that the plan and galleries do indeed follow St Clement Danes as the original contract specified, despite the fact that the famous architect Sir Reginald Blomfield disputed this. However the steeple is based on St James Garlickhythe, London, and the west end is in the style of Vanbrugh. The plate of the church in (S3), taken in the days when church was in use, shows a hatchment which is not mentioned in the text. Where is it now?
E. Rose (NLA), 6 November 2004.

August 2009. Building Survey.
The chapel was consecrated in 1715 and completed circa 1721. It became officially redundant as a place of worship in 1971 and was converted into a theatre in 1972/3. St. George's chapel is of considerable size, and is almost as broad as it is long. The most distinctive aspect of the plan is the double exedrae at each end of the nave. Externally, the building is of brick with rubbed arches of a finer quality of brick. The ordinary brick has vitrified ends, used to decorative effect on the parapets. The windows have depressed three-centred arches to the ground floor. Limestone has been used for the plinth and the openings in the exedrae. Stone is also used for the giant order pilasters supporting open pediments at the entrance end and the east end. The east window and gallery columns are of the Corinthian order, whilst all other columns are Roman Doric. This was to emphasize the chancel. The nave is divided into four bays by giant order pilasters with a section of entablature with triglyth. The corners of the nave have alternating brick and ashlar rusticated quoins. The west end has a pair of stone-dressed pedimented doorways with raised keystones. The tower is of brick, and has an inserted first floor which cuts across a west window. The clock is likely of 18th-century date. A sundial used to be fixed to the parapet on the south-west exedra. It is now stored in the building. The brick part of the tower finishes with a balustrade, and timber tiers are supported on double columns. The bell is housed at the top of the lower tier which is supported on Tuscan columns. A facetted cupola on an open octagon is above this, which in turn supports a tiny lantern surmounted by a lead covered ball. An iron bar carrying the weather vane and four outline iron shapes depicting wild dogs or dragons would have emerged from this, but has been removed. Internally, the nave is barrel -vaulted with groin- vaulted galleries. The columns at gallery level are Roman Doric, with the exception of those leading to the chancel, which are of the Corinthian order. The gallery fronts have raised and fielded panelling. The organ was housed at the west end of the gallery. The staircases to the gallery are accommodated within the western exedrae and have open strings to the inside with shaped tread ends, panelled dados and three balustres per tread. The doorway leading from the nave to the tower porch has an elegant segmental fanlight and probably belongs to an alteration of the 1790s. The pulpit, reredos, font, organ and pews were removed following the redundancy of the church. A pair of carved niches flanking the last bay at gallery level survive, and served as seats close to the pulpit.
In order to build the chapel, a mound of earth built in 1569 was levelled in 1714. In 1940 a bomb shelter was excavated beneath the square to the south of the chapel.
See report (S4) for details.
H. White (NLA), 6 October 2009.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. Beetle damage. 28 August.
---Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 34; pp 51, 79-82.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1999. TG 5207ACS.
---Publication: Summers. Hatchments of England.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 50 NW 49.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 498-499; Pl 79.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Beetles steal the show. 9 December.
---Photograph: RCHM. 1959. Great Yarmouth, Church of St George. Pl. LXXIII andf Pl. LXXIV.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980-1982. [Articles on the Friend's of St George's management of St George's Church, Great Yarmouth].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009-2011. [Articles on the repairs of St George's Church, Great Yarmouth].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. 'Find of national importance' made during work at chapel. 2 February.
---Article in Serial: Quiney, A. 1980. St George's Church, Yarmouth. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 p 309.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013. Spotlight on the buildings that open a window on our past. 10 October.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 146-147; Pl 17.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2014. [Articles on the awards for the refurbishment at St George's Church, Great Yarmouth].
<S1>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S2>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1245919.
<S3>Publication: Whiffen, M.. 1948. Stuart and Early Georgian Churches. p 27.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2009. S. Heywood Report. An Architectural History of the Chapel of St George, King Street, Great Yarmouth..

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MNO4856Related to: St George's Theatre St George's Plain (east side) GREAT YARMOUTH (Revoked)

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