Record Details

NHER Number:9019
Type of record:Building
Name:St Ethelbert's Church, East Wretham


This church was originally of 12th century date but was rebuilt in 1865. It comprises a square west tower, nave, chancel and north aisle with the roof showing signs of heightening. The windows are in the decorated style and the font imitates a 14th century design. In 2005 a vault was discovered beneath the north aisle containing five stone coffins. These supposedly belonged to the Wryley-Birch family, with the latest date inscription reading 1874.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 9150 9063
Map Sheet:TL99SW

Full description

(S1) notes: square tower: chancel arch collapsed and roof height altered; remains of arch, doors and small windows 'show it as old fabric'. Stone coffin with two holes and channels. Part of another.
E. Rose (NAU).

July 1958. Listed, Grade II*.
Listing Description:
Parish church, 12th century, rebuilt 1865. Flint with ashlar quoins. Tiled roofs. West tower and 3 stages and saddleback roof. 2-light belfry windows. 2- light nave and chancel windows in Decorated style and 3-light chancel east window. South porch with re-used 12th century doorway of 3 orders (nailhead, roll, zig- zag) with fine waterleaf capitals. Interior with circular piers and waterleaf capitals of 1865. Moulded arcades. Triple engaged columns to chancel arch and tall moulded archway. Finely carved naturalistic foliage flanks 19th century sedilia. Piscina of similar date. Elaborate font and font cover executed in 14th century style. Good timber roofs to nave and north aisle.
Information from (S2).
E. Rose (NAU).

Postcard and plan and details of the bells, see file.

2005. Field Observation.
Vault, 2.7m x 11.6m (9ft x 38ft) and over 1.8m (6ft) high, found underneath north aisle containing four full sized coffins and one of an infant. Stated to be family vault of the Wryley-Birch family, the latest date 1874 and the earliest 'predating the aisle' and so moved from elsewhere, but details are not given. Photographs show a very large barrel vaulted chamber, the coffins set on a brick structure more like the winebins of a cellar. Sealed again before archaeological inspection.
See notes (S3) in file. This discovery is also noted in (S4).
E. Rose (NLA) 18 July 2005.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TL9190A-C.
---Unpublished Document: Cattermole, P.. 2000. Inventory of church bells and bell-frames in Norfolk.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Photograph: Redman, A. (Co-Whitworth Partnership). 2005. [unknown].
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 790-791.
---Leaflet: St. Ethelbert, East Wretham..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Documentary Source: Martin, T. c. 1700-1799. Collections of Church Notes. Norfolk Records Office. c. 1740.
<S2>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1170650.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Redman, A. (Co-Whitworth Partnership). 2005. Notes.
<S4>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2006. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2005. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 124-136. p 136.

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