Record Details

NHER Number:9137
Type of record:Building
Name:All Saints' Church, Besthorpe


This church was built in the first quarter of the 14th century and has not been significantly altered. The tower contains reused Norman stone that indicates an earlier church may have been on the same site. The building is in a mixture of late Early English and Decorated style. The building was restored in 1876 and 1883 when the roofs were replaced and much of the stonework was renewed. Watching briefs in the churchyard recovered medieval pottery fragments and earlier excavations found a tin coffin fitting in the shape of a crown below a blue and green flower that may be from the grave of Viscount Kilmurray, who is buried within the graveyard.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TM 06576 95620
Map Sheet:TM09NE

Full description

July 1958. Grade I listed.
Parish church circa 1320 and later, restored 1876 and 1883. The church is constructed of flint with ashlar dressings and slate roofs. West tower, nave, transepts and chancel. Tower of 3 stages on high plinth. Angle buttresses changing to diagonal in second stage. 2-light cusped Y west window. North and south similar but blocked with knapped flint c.1450 when repairs carried out. Partly blocked circular cusped ringing chamber windows to north and south probably C15 as interior shows arched windows originally intended. Reduced belfry stage pierced by restored 2-light Y windows below parapet. Gabled south porch with chamfer and hollow exterior mouldings. Plinth of apex cross remains. Finely moulded inner jambs and rectangular splayed side lights. One C19 Y window to nave with tracery of piled trefoils. South transept has string course below windows continuous and nave and chancel. Angle buttresses. 2-light cusped Y windows to east and west, the latter blocked as tower. South window is of 3 lights with mouchette tracery. High gabled roof. Chancel sides have 3 3-light intersecting cusped windows with flat buttress between eastern pair. Low priest's door to south. Angle buttresses at east frame 5-light mouchette east window of 1876 below low coped parapet. String course continues round north. Cusped 2-light Y traceried window to east wall of north transept. 3-light intersecting north window. North nave window as south. Gabled C19 vestry with angle buttresses and 2-light window with Y tracery and piled trefoils. INTERIOR Double chamfered tower arch and stilled rere arches over north and south doors. All windows have internal shafting. Transept arches carried on polygonal responds with capitals, the arches themselves chamfered and with hollows below hoods on head stops. South transept contains one walI niche either side of east window with rising buttresses and ogee or straight gables crocketted with finials. Similar piscina in south wall. South-east pier has a statutory niche. Chancel arch hollow chamfered. Chancel sedilia and piscina in continuous 6-gabled range, the gables containing cusped ogee arches with ogeed trefoils fitting the spandrels. Crockets and finials. Chancel north wall has tomb of Sir William Drury of 1640 usually attributed to Gerard Christmas. Altar pedestal has predella containing alabaster carvings of 2 of Drury's children with a skull. Sir William reclines on rolled up mat separated by pair of Tuscan columns from his wife to the left kneeling, and 3 children to the right, kneeling. All figures alabaster. Semi-circular niche above effigy bears inscription and is crowned by achievement with coat of arms in shield. Architraves break forward right and left to meet columns and are finished by oval medallions with laurel surround. All roofs C19 scissor braced. Fragments of C15 glass. Chancel screen dates from 1931.
H. White, (NLA), 25 September 2009

Some reused Norman stonework; otherwise all early Decorated, including transepts with very ornate detailing, and similar sedilia in chancel. Unusual floor piscina in tiled surround. South vestry, 15th century? Demolished 19th century when north vestry built. Other 19th century restoration. Furnishings include important Drury tomb 1640. Medieval coffin slab; inscribed table 1694.
See (S1).
E. Rose (NLA) 10 August 1992.

April 2000. Bell and bellframe survey.
The square west tower contains five bells, which have traditional timber headstocks, wheels, stays and sliders. A stone tablet at the base of the tower records the work of 1893.
See (S2) for further details
H. White, (NLA),

14 January 2004. Visit.
Trench north of church, medieval sherds and detail of tower foundations.
See file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 16 January 2004.

May 2006. Watching Brief.
Monitoring during installation of a septic tank with associated drainage. Contexts 10-14. Several fragments of pottery including medieval and Roman sherds were recovered from redeposited topsoil of one of the trenches, otherwise no features or finds of archaeological interest were observed within the groundworks.
See report (S3) and (S4) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S5).
J. Allen (NLA), 17 May 2006.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BURNT FLINT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • Xtile pavement (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • Xbell frame (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: 1984. NHER TM0685E-G (NLA 145/AVN1-2) 18-APR-1984.
---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.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 204.
---Leaflet: Church tours in Brisley and Elham Rural Deanery..
---Leaflet: Butler- Stoney, R. 2000. All Saints Church, Besthorpe.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. Window replaced - at last. 27 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. [Photograph of the 'Young mourners' in All Saints' Church, Besthorpe]. 16 June.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 1992. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Hobbs, B. 2006. An Archaeological Watching Brief at All Saints' Church, Besthorpe, Norfolk. NAU Archaeology. 1176.
<S4>Slide: Various. Slide. 1-12.
<S5>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 2007. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2006. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt II pp 261-273. p 262.

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