Record Details

NHER Number:8694
Type of record:Monument
Name:Remains of St Edmund's Church, West Caister


One of two churches constructed within Caister parish during the medieval period, currently known as the remains of St Edmund's Church but possibly known as Holy Trinity when it was in use. This building is believed to have been constructed in the late 13th or early 14th century and remained in use until 1608, when the parishes were combined. By the early 17th century the building was already described as decayed, and now only a portion of the tower and the north-west corner of the nave walls remain. These remains were Listed Grade II in 1964.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5087 1177
Map Sheet:TG51SW

Full description

Remains of St Edmund's Church.
One of two churches constructed within Caister parish during the medieval period.

There has been some discussion surrounding the dedication of these two medieval churches (S1). In the 20th century, these ruins and the nearby chapel (NHER 61455) have been known as St Edmunds, whilst the parish church of Caister-on-Sea (NHER 8683) is known as the Holy Trinity. However, it appears that 18th and 19th century antiquarians reversed these dedications and it is likely that the West Caister church located here was actually known as Holy Trinity when it was in use, and the east Caister church was known as St Edmund (S1).

This church was associated with Caister Castle (NHER 8671), constructed by Sir John Falstolf between 1440 and 1450. The date of its construction is not currently known, but the character of the remains is typical of the 14th century (S2). Blomefield (S3) lists encumbents from 1289 to 1608, when the two parishes were combined. By the 16th century, both the manor of the Falstolfs and the population of the parish appears to have been in decline (S1), and the 1602 survey of Ruined and Decayed Churches described this site "The church decaied and profaned, and made a barne" (S2). Pevsner (S4) notes that fragments of tracery were re-used within a well located in the garden of The Canons (NHER 28361), and (S5) notes that the ruins were used for road mending material. In 1854 a new chapel (NHER 61455) was constructed just to the south of the ruins to serve the hamlet of West Caister (S2).

The remains of this parish church were Listed Grade II in 1962. By 1990, only a small portion of the west tower and the north-west corner of the nave remained (S2). The north wall of the tower survived to a height of 10m, and a portion of a ground floor window remained in the west wall. Examination of the construction indicated that the tower and the nave were constructed at different times (S2).

The 19th century church previously recorded under this record is now recorded under NHER 61455.
H. Hamilton (HES), 29 April 2016.

September 1962. Listed Grade II.
Listing Description:
Ruins of parish church. Late C15. Coursed rubble flint with ashlar quoins. Fragment of west tower and portion of north nave wall. 3 storey unbuttressed tower devoid of window embrasures. Nave had angle buttresses to west end.
Information from (S6).
H. Hamilton (HES), 29 April 2016.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 17th Century - 1400 AD to 1699 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1999. TG 5111K, Q - S.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 51 SW 13a.
---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 715.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Caister (West).
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Article in Serial: Tooke, C.. 1983. Caister Churches and their Dedication. Yarmouth Archaeology. No 5, Vol 1, pp 25-28.
<S2>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 90; p 52.
<S3>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1810. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol XI. pp 201-216.
<S4>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 109, 389.
<S5>Article in Serial: Bent, F.. 1995. The Ruined Churches of the Fleggs.. Yarmouth Archaeology. p 17.
<S6>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1228046.

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