Record Details

NHER Number:4551
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Kirby Bedon


Standing only fifty metres from the other parish church dedicated to St Andrew, the ruins of this church consist of a round west tower, the north walls of the nave and chancel and fragments of the east and south chancel. The earliest part is the 12th century nave, the chancel and tower being 13th century and the tower's belfry stage 15th century. The church was abandoned in about 1700, the village finding just the one church adequate for their needs.


  • The ruins of the tower of St Mary's Church, Kirby Bedon  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 2793 0541
Map Sheet:TG20NE

Full description

July 1975. Visit.
Ruins. Round tower of flint with brick window surrounds.
Top storey has rounded arches, that below it has small lancets under pointed relieving arches, so early 13th century? (S1) says Norman tower and Early English church, but it seems improbable that these lower windows should be inserted later with relief arches. Gable against east side of tower. Parts of walls. Very overgrown and in dangerous condition.
E. Rose (NAU), 12 July 1975.

Reference (S2) dates nave as 12th century, tower and chancel as late 13th century, tower heightening 15th century.
Reference (S3), describing clearance of vegetation in 1997, dates nave to about 1100 with double splayed windows; tower, added second half 13th century; tower heightened around 1400. Chancel initially dated to 15th century but in a footnote this is corrected to early 14th century (same date as tower?) with 15th century repairs.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 December 1997.

Appropriate section from reference (S2), (S3), photograph (S4), architect's report (S5) and press cutting (S6) in file.

June 2009. Norfolk NMP.
Ruins of church visible really clearly on aerial photographs until 1964 (S7) –(S9).
E. Bales (NMP), 6 June 2009.

Autumn 2012.
There has been a substantial fall of masonry from the south side of the round tower and the south-west corner of the nave (S9).
D. Gurney (HES), 09 November 2012.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • WINDOW (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (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)
  • Xtile pavement (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2705A, B, H,.
---Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1805-1810. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Volume Unknown.
---Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1050460.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1901. Hundred of Henstead. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol VII. pp 47-50.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NE 22.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 506.
---Recording Form: Heywood, S. 1998. Norfolk County Council Site Visit Record - St Mary's Church, Kirby Bedon.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Hallmarks of a colourful past - Atmospheric ruins cast long historical shadows. 2 November.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Listing Notification. Notification. DNF10539.
<S1>Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1931. The Ruined Churches of Norfolk.
<S2>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 74; p 52.
<S3>Unpublished Report: Heywood, S. 1997. Church of St Mary, Kirby Bedon.
<S4>Photograph: 1974. Kirby Bedon ruined church..
<S5>Unpublished Document: Anderson, A.. 1992. Inspection, 1992.. February.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Worshippers return to ruin after 287 years. 30 June.
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G UK 789 6186 10-SEPT-1945 (NMR)..
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1964. OS/64206 064-5 22-SEP-1964 (NMR)..
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: NMR. 1945. RAF 106G UK 789 6259 10-SEPT-1945 (NMR)..
<S9>Photograph: Gurney, D.. 2012. [unknown].

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