Record Details

NHER Number:6479
Type of record:Building
Name:St Martin's Church, Overstrand


This medieval church replaced an earlier one that was washed away in 1399. It was in ruins by the 18th century before being restored between 1911 and 1914. The building consists of an embattled west tower, nave, north aisle, chancel and a south porch that was originally on the north side. In the south wall of the tower is a small oven for baking wafers, its flue coming out near the top. Inside, the roofs are 20th century, as are the aisle and arcade. The old north door has been left in position, and following the addition of the north aisle is now an interesting internal feature. There is a tablet to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (who died in 1854), the philanthropist and anti-slavery campaigner.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2407 4076
Map Sheet:TG24SW

Full description

The original church washed away in 1399 and a new one was constructed near the original site shortly afterwards. Ruined by the 18th century. Rebuilt 1911 to 14 despite strong objection from Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Perpendicular tower with flushwork battlements and wafer oven, but windows still very Decorated in style. The original Perpendicular nave was aisleless; an aisle was added in 1911 leaving the original north door fossilised inside. North porch moved to south side. 19th century memorials. Plate is chalice, Norwich 1567, and paten. Rood turret remains. Piscinae in porch and south wall and in rood stair. Brass matrices.
In 1765 the chancel arch had been bricked up and a window inserted - the chancel presumably by then having already gone. From 1867 to about 1950 Christ Church, a semi-temporary building, stood in the same churchyard. During the period of ruination, Black Shuck lived in the church.

Above compiled from (S1), (S2), and Bolingbroke Collection. (S3) shows church a shell, but it is hard to make out the plan; if it is correct there was no south aisle then the nave was very short and chancel very narrow, for on south are shown a southwest angle buttress, the south door almost buried in the ground with a large pointed tympanum, then a buttress, a traceryless tall window, another similar buttress and window, then an angle buttress and what might be a narrow east window, but perhaps only the wall broken through. The stub of the chancel south wall has a window jamb, then there is a long gap to the isolated southeast corner of the chancel with another window jamb and a buttress.
Through the gap can be seen two windows without tracery in the north nave wall. The west bay only of the nave is roofed, at a lower level than a roof mark on the tower. The tower has west angle buttresses dying in at belfry level; featureless belfry windows, sound holes on the storey.

Reference (S5) (copy in file) quotes Anna Gurney in 1834 as referring to a new gallery and organ in the church. Where was this? Was it squeezed into the west bay of the nave? Listed (S6). Further press cutting (S7) and architect's plans (S8) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 4 January 1999.

Charles Buxton the anti-slavery campaigner was buried in the ruined chancel in 1845.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • PISCINA (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

Sources and further reading

---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 632.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. Stained glass window memorial. 14 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. Tiny church, big puzzle. 15 March.
<S1>Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1900. Hundred of North Erpingham. Vol V. pp 163-169.
<S2>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 295-296.
<S3>Illustration: Ladbrooke. 1824. [unknown].
<S5>Newspaper Article: 1998. Eastern Daily Press.
<S6>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1049816.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Church gallery delighted the boys. 1998. Eastern Daily Press. 31 December.
<S8>Drawing: Various. Various. Architectural plans.

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