Record Details

NHER Number:8139
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Hellesdon


A medieval parish church dating back to the 12th century, with extensive 14th and 15th century alterations. The church contains two late 14th century brasses and was restored in the 19th century.


  • St Mary's Church, Hellesdon.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 2005 1061
Map Sheet:TG21SW

Full description

Traces of large blocked windows in chancel and nave south walls around later windows: former could be round headed.
Decorated south porch, vaulted inside, parvis with two little cusped windows and two slits.
Nave has Decorated or Perpendicular arcades, and 19th century windows in imitation Decorated.
Chancel windows Perpendicular, with cusped low side window.
North door has ?reset head corbel beside it north aisle is in a different style of flintwork to rest of church and has had its roof raised in brick.
Lead spire.
Octagonal font.
Late 14th century brasses.
Chalice, Norwich 1567; paten; alms dish, London 1738.
Interior details taken from (S1).
Visited by E. Rose (NAU) 18 May 1977.

In west gable was a pigeon loft, see (S2).
E. Rose (NAU)

N. Batcock says interior of blocked windows are round-headed and the same size as the exterior marks, suggesting double-splayed.
E. Rose (NAU)

Bell cast by William de Norwyce (earliest known Norwich bellfounder) inscribed by donor, John de Heylesdon, who also endowed a chantry at east end north aisle where he was buried (as a brass records) 19 April 1384.
Information from NIAS.

Illustration in (S3) of six grotesque corbels found under plaster during the restoration in about 1836, removed and given to Darkins and Blake of St George's Plain, Norwich.
E. Rose (NAU)

One of the brasses is of about 1370 and is a rare Norman French inscription (S4).
This must be the brass of R & B Heylesdone noted in (S5) as of the London 'B' school.
E. Rose (NAU)

14th century rood screen there in 1865, see (S6).
E. Rose (NAU)

Description of church in (S7) in which he describes the blocked windows as a high Norman window cut by porch roof on south (part open as cupboard in parvis) a blocked full height Decorated window immediately east of porch cutting the Norman window; a second Norman window cut by the existing nave south Decorated window; a third in the chancel south cut by a later blocked window above the existing eastern window; and marks of a large window above the western chancel south window. He identifies the north aisle/chapel as a chantry recorded in 1384 as above; and suggests corbels supporting roof and bellcote as 12th or 15th century (but are these the ones Woodward mentions, reused?).
(S8) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 3 October 1985.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

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

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1170678.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1905. Hundred of Taverham. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XV. pp 70-79.
---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 544.
---Photograph: Photographs of interior (showing wall painting) and exterior of St. Mary's Church, Hellesdon. Black & white.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Hellesdon.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. p 290.
<S2>Publication: Cooke. 1920. A Book of Dovecotes. 2.
<S3>Correspondence: 1836. Woodward Correspondance. p.18.
<S4>Unpublished Document: NCM. Brass Catalogue.
<S5>Article in Serial: Badham, S.. 2000. Monumental Brasses and the Black Death.. Antiquaries Journal. Vol 80. p 237.
<S6>Article in Serial: Plunkett, G. A. F. 1979. Norfolk Church Screens - 1865 Survey. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVII Pt II pp 178-189. p 182.
<S7>Serial: Fenner, G.. NARG News.. No 41.
<S8>Photograph: Fox, P.R.. Corbels, St Mary's Church, Hellesdon (M35293/1,3,7,9,13,16,18,20).

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