Record Details

NHER Number:7468
Type of record:Building
Name:St Agnes' Church, Cawston


The church consists of a tall west tower, nave, north and south aisles, north and south transepts, chancel and south porch. The earliest parts are the chancel and north transept, which are from about 1300. The rest of the building is late 14th and early 15th century, and was built by Sir Michael De La Pole, first Earl of Suffolk, and his wife Catherine (except the north aisle, built by Robert Oxburgh). Construction is of flint, except the tower, which is faced in freestone. There are interesting gargoyles below the parapets. Inside is a hammerbeam roof to the nave with carved angels, a 15th century rood screen with original painted panels, medieval stained glass, poppy-headed benches, a 15th century pulpit and a medieval alms box.


  • The tower of St Agnes' Church, Cawston  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 1339 2384
Map Sheet:TG12SW

Full description

Basically early Decorated (14th century) in style, majority of church is Perpendicular style dated to before 1414. Magnificent roof and important collection of Perpendicular-style woodwork.
(S1)-(S4) in file.
E. Rose (NAU) 5 February 1990.

A leather box or case from this church was displayed in an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1930. See (S6) (S7). Also see (S8) for a full description of the box.
A. Beckham (HES), 5 March 2020.

This is one of the sixty five Norfolk churches selected for (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

September 2013. Site Visit.
Spandrel decoration of south transept piscina of bird with a wolf's head to right and naked figure with a disproportionatly large bearded head in profile to left. Very unusual to have decoration of this sort to a piscina. See photos in image library.
S. Heywood (HES). 24 September 2013

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FONT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOD SCREEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • Xbell frame (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Publication: Cox, J. C. and Harvey, A. 1973. English Church Furniture. p 58.
---Article in Serial: Bulwer, J. 1849. Remarks on a Figure represented on the Rood-loft Screens of Gately and Cawston Churches, in this County. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol II pp 280-290.
---Article in Serial: Bulwer, J. 1852. Notice of a mural painting discovered in the south transept of Cawston Church. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol III pp 37-39.
---Aerial Photograph: TG 1323A-B.
---Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1263465.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG1323/C.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1905. Hundred of South Erpingham. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XIV. pp 157-184.
---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. pp 428-430; Pl 44.
---Leaflet: Notes on the Church of St Agnes, Cawston.. L.F. Everett, Cowper Road, Dereham.
---Article in Serial: Baggs, A. P. 1980. Cawston Church. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 p 332.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Publication: Timms, S. 2013. Within These Ancient Walls: Discovering St. Agnes' Church, Cawston.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 111-113; Pl 27b.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. Beetles are back at parish church.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. Fortress's final slice of fortune. 24 June.
<S1>Documentary Source: Martin, T. c. 1700-1799. Collections of Church Notes. Norfolk Records Office. c. 1740.
<S1>Unpublished Document: E. Rose. 1977. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Serial: 1818. Excursions through Norfolk.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986-1989. [Photographs of St Agnes' Church, Cawston].
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Villagers head warning and save church. 3 January.
<S5>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S6>Publication: Victoria and Albert Museum. 1930. English Mediaeval Art. p.58.
<S8>Article in Serial: [anonymous]. 1893. [proceedings of meeting held Thursday, December 15th, 1892]. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Second Series Vol XIV (1891-1893) pp 245-254. pp 246-252 [note on some ornamental cases of leather].

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