Record Details

NHER Number:1390
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's Church, Brancaster


This earliest parts of this church date from the 12th century but the church is mainly of 14th-century date. Nave with aisles, west tower and chancel. 14th-century arcades on octagonal piers. The chancel is Norman. There is much re-used Roman masonry of quarzite in the south chancel wall. The south aisle windows of a very curious shape probably date to the 17th century. The church was re-roofed and re-floored between 1831 and 1832 when a major restoration took place.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 7724 4390
Map Sheet:TF74SE

Full description

Evidence of Norman work in chancel, and much conglomerate. Reused Roman stone from Branodunum throughout building but may be late medieval use. South aisle 13th century; south porch around 1300; arcades, north aisle, tower, remainder of chancel around 1405. Alterations 1832, 1907, 1911. Several brasses. Remarkable 16th century font cover. Remains of rood screen.
See (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 2 December 1998.

For further notes on the grey stone, see file for NHER 1001. A Wealden source is suggested.
D. Gurney (NLA), 25 May 1999.

May 2000. Restoration works confirmed that the Norman chancel was extended eastwards in the 15th century and the use of the Roman stone is almost entirely at the latter date.
See (S2) in file. These discoveries are also noted in (S7).
E. Rose (NLA), 22 May 2000.

See (S3) for a note on building materials.
D. Gurney (NLA), 22 January 2002.

December 2006 and April-May 2007. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of groundworks associated with installation of toilets and extension of drains. From Context 1.
Excavations took place between 4-20 December 2006 and 30 April- 4 May 2007.
Disarticulated human bones were discovered throughout the site, suggesting much intercutting of graves.
A human skull and upper torso of medieval or post- medieval orgin were excavated to the north of the site.
In a trench to the south west of the site two in- situ wall bases were discovered. They were both aligned NNW-SSE and were constructed from round, unfinished flint cobbles bound by a sandy lime motar. A layer of demolition rubble extended either side of the features. The wall bases extended beyone the limits of the trench. These wall bases are notable as they on a different orientation to the present church, indicating an earlier structure or an ancillary structure since demolished.
See report (S4) for further details. See also (S5) and (S6).
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.62).
H.White (NLA), 4 November 2008. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 17 May 2019.

The grey stone or silver carr referred to above was probably quarried in the Castle Rising area. See NHER 56217.
D. Gurney (HES), 31 October 2011.

April-June 2012. Building Survey.
Illustrated analysis of church. Mainly 14th -century, 15th century clerestory and Norman chancel. Much re-used Roman Quartzite in petit appareil in chancel. East wall rebuilt (see Ladbrooke). Very odd south aisle windows possibly 17th-century in date. Font cover of 1498. Bell frame of 1754.
See report (S8)
S. Heywood, 29 June 2012.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BURIAL (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD?)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD?)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1100 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • WINDOW (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FONT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD?)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (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)
  • Xbell frame (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Report: Dodd, W. 1997. Architect's Report. Joint Grant Scheme for Churches and Other Places of Worship.
---Aerial Photograph: TF7744 AB.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Hinchliffe, J. and Sparey Green, C. 1985. Excavations at Brancaster 1974 and 1977. East Anglian Archaeology. No 23.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, B. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 213.
---Leaflet: 1984. St Mary's Church, Brancaster..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 1-2.
---Photograph: CBF36-7,CBJ31-6.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1998. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. 2000. Building Survey.
<S3>Article in Serial: Allen, J. R. L, Fulford, M. G. and Pearson, A. F. 2001. Branodunum on the Saxon Shore (North Norfolk): a Local Origin for the Building Material. Britannia. Vol XXXII pp 271-275. pp 271-274.
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Boyle, M. 2008. An Archaeological Watching Brief at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Brancaster, Norfolk. NAU Archaeology. 1466.
<S5>Slide: Various. Slide. 3-32.
<S6>Photograph: Boyle, M.. 2006. MQH.
<S7>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 709.
<S8>Unpublished Report: Heywood, S. 2012. The Church of St Mary, Brancaster, Norfolk. Conservation-based Research and Analysis Report (COBRAR).

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 - 2022 Norfolk Historic Environment Service