Record Details

NHER Number:6720
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Erpingham


A medieval parish church, which contains some evidence from the Norman period, and which may stand on the site of an earlier church. The church contains architectural elements dating from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The late 15th century west tower is decorated with heraldic shields and the name 'Erpingham', paid for by the Erpingham family. The font in the church is quite unusual, the figures have been drastically recut, rather than simply defaced, so that the figure of Christ on a rainbow has been turned into a woman. Middle and Late Saxon pottery has been found in the churchyard.


  • St Mary's Church, Erpingham. The building is mostly in Decorated style.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 1988 3125
Map Sheet:TG13SE

Full description

Evidence of Norman origins.
Chancel part Early English; most of church Decorated, remodelled in Perpendicular period with new tower.
Unusual font from St. Benedicts, Norwich.
Stained glass, in part from Blickling Hall.
Good Royal arms.
See (S1) and (S2).
E. Rose (NLA) 11 October 1993.

Middle Saxon, Late Saxon and medieval sherds from churchyard.
Details in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA) 16 February 1996.

The tower is decorated with stone plaques with heraldic shields, and the name of 'Erpingham' is set in stone letters just below the battlements. In the church are four statues of the Doctors of the Church, originally pinnacles on the tower. The figures on the font have been drastically recut, for example the image of Christ on the rainbow has been turned into a woman.
See (S2) and (S3).
S. Spooner (NLA) 15 November 2005.

December 2007. Drainage works and clearance of a boiler house revealed a blocked archway and traces of an external projection to the north of the nave, perhaps a chantry chapel; a projection, perhaps of late date, at the northwest corner; and a pre-15th century demolished projection north of the chancel. See continuation of (S2) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 5 December 2007.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • QUERN (Undated)
  • Xbell frame (Undated)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FONT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (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)
  • FONT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL PAINTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: GTM 14-18.
---Aerial Photograph: TG1931C, E, G, K, L, M.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Oldest church window restored. 24 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Bell has found a new home. 8 March.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1905. Hundred of South Erpingham. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XIV. pp 209-218.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Bells mark four-year marathon effort. 1 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Preserving Sir Thomas Erpingham's legacy. 29 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1994. Should church glass return?. 17 December.
---Leaflet: Gray, P.. 1978. An architectural guide to the churches of St Mary Erpingham and Our Lady and St Margaret Calthorpe, Norfolk..
---Leaflet: The churches of the Erpingham Group of parishes: A short architectural guide..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Church appeal on gift bell. 7 July.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2017. Celebrations as village church roof is repaired after lead theft. 6 November.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1172181.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1993. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S3>Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 456.

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