Record Details

NHER Number:8795
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Watton


This church has a Norman round tower of 13th century date, although the top of the tower is a later addition. The core of the church is of this date, with the chancel and south arcade being in the Early English style. However, the north arcade is in the later Perpendicular style. The church was altered in the 15th century and the exterior reclad in the late 19th century. Inside, there are screens dating to 1852 and a wooden poor box in the form of a stiffly standing parson which dates to 1639. The churchyard is a regionally important example of an ornamental churchyard.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 92134 00941
Map Sheet:TF90SW

Full description

July 1958. Listed Grade II*.
Listing Description except:
"Parish church. 12th century and later, rebuilt 1840, restored 1886-7. Partially rendered flint with gault brick dressings and slate roofs. West tower, nave, aisles and chancel. Tower 12th century, two stages, circular base. Arched west door and lancet above of 19th century…14th-century octagonal belfry…Broad aisles of 1840 with gabled roofs…Chancel largely 13th century and rendered...Vestry of 1852 abuts north chancel wall, converted to organ chamber 1886…Scissor braced nave roof of C19 with battlemented wall plate…creen at west end of south aisle and chancel screen both 1852. Benches 1840 and 1852. Reredos 1908. Poor Box in form of wooden Parson inscribed 'Remember the Poore 1639'."
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current listing details.
P. Watkins (HES), 7 January 2022.

Round tower, possibly 13th century as probably date of core of church. Altered in the 15th century, reclad in late 19th.
See report and press cuttings (S2) in file.
E. Rose (NAU) 19 May 1983.

Churchyard graded two-star by Norfolk Historic Gardens Survey as regionally important example of an ornamental churchyard.
See Survey for details.
E. Rose (NAU) 21 July 1998.

Early 12th century round western tower with a later medieval octagonal bell stage. There is an elaborate parapet with blind tracery. The tower once had a small spire which became unstable by 1878 and was takne down. The nave is flanked by unusually wide aisles, added in 1841. 13th century arcades to the south and 15th century to the north still survive. The lancet window in the chancel suggests a 13th century date. The chancel ceiling was painted in 1887 to the designs of a local artist, Thomas Walters. The painting consists of a bold design of gold stars on a dark blue background and a trompe l'oeil with a frieze of red crosses beneath. There is a central rose of elaborate design. The stained gass in the east window was installed in 1919.
See (S2) for further information
H. White (NLA), 29 January 2009.

September 2011. Photographic Survey and Watching Brief.
An initial photographic record was made of specific features during the early stages of a of a programme of internal refurbishment and improvement works. It was possible to record the pews and pew platforms in the nave and aisles in situ but unfortunately the chancel stalls and the 19th-centuty chancel screen had already been moved.
A watching brief was then maintained during groundworks within the church, including the reduction of the floor levels within the chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The excavations within the chancel exposed the entrance to a vaulted brick crypt containing a number of lead coffins and the remains of a single wooden coffin. It is clear from a stone memorial in the chancel that the crypt dates to the late 18th century, being listed as containing the remains of individuals who had died between 1785 and 1813.
The truncated remains of a partially articulated human burial were exposed in the north-west corner of the south aisle and fragments of disarticulated human bone were recovered during work elsewhere in both the south aisle and the nave. Human remains were also disturbed during excavations at the eastern end of the north aisle (where the font was to be relocated), with approximately 180 fragments of disarticulated bone recovered from a deposit of crushed lime rubble that lay immediately beneath the limecrete floor. These probably represent the remains of burials disturbed when the church was enlarged in 1840. Further damage will have been caused by subsequent works, including the installation of a heating system.
Other features of note recorded during the internal works included two voids in the southernmost part of the nave. These were partially emptied and then backfilled. Cuts identified between the arcading on the north and south sides of the nave are probably the robbed out foundation trenches of walls removed when the south and north aisles were erected.
The external works exposed a brick-infilled stone window opening in the east wall of the chancel. This may well relate to the original construction of the chancel in the 13th century. A fragment of carved stone within the fabric of the wall to the north of the blocked window was possibly added as part of a later repair.
See report (S4) for further details.
All of the human remains disturbed by these works were retained on site for reburial.
P. Watkins (HES), 9 January 2022.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GARDEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1898. Hundred of Wayland. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol I. pp 25-29.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, B. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 752.
---Leaflet: L.J. Lee, B.M. Sharman. 1965. Parish Watton, Watton St. Mary.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Church's £500,000 revamp. 2 April.
---Publication: Jean Loizou. St Mary's Parish Church, Watton - a guide.
---Unpublished Document: St Mary's Church, Watton - Existing plan (floor).
---Unpublished Document: Denis Tuttle Architecture. 2008. St Mary's Church, Watton - Plan as existing. 12 December.
---Recording Form: Heywood, S. Norfolk County Council Site Record - St Mary's Church, Watton.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. [Photograph of a poorbox in St Mary's Church, Watton].
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1153046.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Sunday school can be built. 24 February.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2009. NCC Report. The Church of St Mary, Watton; Statement of Significance..
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2012. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at St Mary’s Church, Watton, Norfolk. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB269R.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2024 Norfolk Historic Environment Service