Record Details

NHER Number:8346
Type of record:Monument
Name:Ruins of St Mary's Church, Eccles-next-the-Sea, Lessingham

Summary

The ruins of St Mary's Church, once serving the village of Eccles-next-the-Sea. Both the church and the village were engulfed by the sea and abandoned in the early 17th century, but the round west tower with its octagonal top remained standing until 1895, when it fell in a storm. The foundations of the building are usually concealed under sand, but are occasionally exposed by the tide. Burials in the old churchyard are also sometimes exposed, and various medieval objects have been found in the area.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 4141 2881
Map Sheet:TG42NW
Parish:LESSINGHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

16 March 1947. Southwest of church tower.
Scouring exposed foundations of St Mary's church and graveyard and were seen by R. R. Clarke (NCM).
A few sherds were picked up on the old land surface. (S1).
Burial with heads to west in blue-black clay.
Mentioned in(S1) and (S2).
1329. 35 taxpayers, 1449 none.
1605. 'Church and most of houses lost to sea'. Church had been dismantled 1603 after a gale.
(S3) mentions ledger stone of 1541 (see diagram in file).
1836. Tower west of dunes but east of wall exposed on east.
1894. West gable blown down.
Sand dunes on east of tower until foundations exposed storm on 1862.
Tower fell in storm 1895.
Base visible 1933. R. R. Clarke (NCM).

Yearly service held in tower even when permanently surrounded by water in order to claim tithes.
Church had Early English nave, chancel, south aisle, round tower with octagonal top, south porch.
E. Rose (NAU).

On beach by church. December 1912. A denarius of Constantine.
Seen by R. R. Clarke (NCM).

Also before 1890, bronze key, escutcheon. 1890 coins, leather bag, spur, dagger etc.
E. Rose (NAU).

1990. Field Observation.
Investigation of foreshore following tidal scour.
See interim report (S4) for further details.

1991. Field Observation.
Investigation of church after exposed by scour.
Square feature, well? Attached to churchyard wall found, containing fishbone counter, spoon, architectural fragments, etc. Four phases of church building now evidenced. Coffins found, and area of graveyard restricted to children. Medieval sherds from churchyard.
See second interim report (S23) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA), 13 May 1993.

1992. Human bones exposed on site by tidal scour were reburied in Hempstead churchyard.
E. Rose (NLA), 5 January 1993.

See file for full details, bibliography (S5), extract from (S6), photographs (S7) and press cuttings (S8) to (S20). Hand written monologue of 1909 (S21) also in file.

See (S22).

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISH REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GAMING PIECE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SHOE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPOON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPUR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG4128 D-Q,T-Y.
---Archive: Bolingbroke Collection. Plan (19th Nov 1893).
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 42 NW 1 [2].
---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 453.
---Unpublished Report: Pestell, T. J. 1990. Archaeological Investigations on the Foreshore of Eccles Beach, Norfolk. A First Interim Report.
---Photograph: Ruins of St Marys Church, Eccles-next-the-Sea. Print.
---Photograph: 1991. Eccles Tower, St Mary's ruined Church. Print.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Revealed - the secrets of Norfolk's lost villages. 18 August.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Lessingham.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Lessingham.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. p 125; Pl 3b.
<S1>Publication: Brown, P (ed.). 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk. Parts 1 and 2.
<S2>Monograph: Nomina Villarum.
<S3>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1805-1810. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Volume Unknown.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Stannard, D.. 1986. Biblography of References to Eccles Church.
<S6>Article in Serial: Pestell, T.. [unknown]. Current Archaeology.
<S7>Photograph: Various.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1947. Eccles beach erosion brings ruined church to light. 17 March.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1974. [Photograph of the ruins of St Mary's Church]. 7 November.
<S10>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Discover a lost village. 28 August.
<S11>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Photograph of the ruins of St Mary's Church. 6 February.
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Where rhinos once roamed. 19 August.
<S13>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. Rediscovering a Norfolk village lost to the sea. 21 May.
<S14>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Bones go after sea uncovers graveyard. 18 May.
<S15>Serial: UEA. 1993. UEA News.. March.
<S16>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. Were villagers buried in the old tower's ruins?. 27 January.
<S17>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. The lonely sentine of the sea. 23 January.
<S18>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. Racing the tides. 21 August.
<S19>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Second burial for a doomed village. 29 August.
<S20>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. Now we're under threat from media erosion. 1 February.
<S21>Unpublished Document: W.H.Cooke. 1909. Eccles next the sea, Happisburgh, and the Erosion of the East Coast. Notes collected by W.H. Cooke..
<S22>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 118; pp 53, 148.
<S23>Unpublished Report: Pestell, T. J. 1993. Archaeological Investigations on the Foreshore of Eccles Beach, Norfolk. A Second Interim Report.

Related records - none

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