Record Details

NHER Number:3247
Type of record:Building
Name:St Peter's Church, Melton Constable


A Late Saxon or Norman parish church with a central tower, crossing and sanctuary. The materials, architectural details and plan all suggest a pre-Conquest date. Inside the crossing arch is surmounted by a huge twin arch that has a large circular pier in the middle. The south transept functions as a mausoleum for the Astley family, and contains many of their memorials. The church also has a medieval wooden shutter in one of the windows on the south wall, as well as a small alcove seat and a book-rest.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 0378 3195
Map Sheet:TG03SW

Full description

Not yet visited.
N. Batcock reports renovated by Astleys in 1681 and new aisle added.
E. Rose (NAU) 11 March 1985.

(S1) mentions a religious college formerly attached to the church 'now totally removed' but gives no details.
E. Rose (NLA), 13 July 1990.

17th century furnishings stolen in 1994.
See press cutting in file.

For the important early Norman tower arch see (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 12 March 2001.

March 1959. Listed, Grade II.
Listing Description:
Parish church and mausoleum of the Astley family formerly of Melton Constable Park. Nave, crossing and sanctuary; mausoleum with family tribune above forms south transept; north transept 1859. Materials, details and plan suggest pre-1066 date. Conglomerate, flint, stone dressings, tiled roof of about 1900. Nave west gable with late 19th century Romanesque door and 2-light 'Y' tracery window about 1300 above. Nave south wall with blocked Perpendicular south doorway, nave north with one round headed lancet deeply splayed internally, one 3-light Perpendicular window. Crossing tower with quoins, slightly set off belfry stage with blocked round headed openings and late 19th century Romanesque windows, conical roof. Ground floor one 2-light straight headed Perpendicular window. Chancel details externally 19th century, buttresses and 3-light east window.
Interior. Nave with 5 bay Perpendicular arched braced roof with wall posts on stone corbels, carved bosses at intersections. At east crossing a low rounded arch supporting at apex a Romanesque window opening with central massive shaft with two arches under a typanum, all plastered except for stone capital of central pier, presumably originally matched by other such openings. Within sanctuary tower one 19th century round arch to north, Perpendicular chancel arch to west, Perpendicular details to south including squint. Flat boarded roof. Chancel with 19th century roof with arched braces supported on 19th century carved angle corbels. Mid/late 19th century wooden reredos incorporating triptych with grisaille panels on reverse. Monument 1818 Bacon invenit, Manning fecit. To south recut Easter recess with 1914-1918 memorial. South transept family tribune added about 1681. Panelled dado and pews. Segmental arched opening to nave, classical details. Stairs dated 1636. Collection of good 18th century family monuments, none signed, and painted heraldry of Astley family 'from Norman Conquest' to present day. Nave north wall monument J. Bacon sculpt 1807. North window with mostly secular 16th century and 17th century glass fragments. Chancel east window with 15th century head; north transept with Crucifixion window 1859. Restored 1885, chancel furnishings and reredos 1903.
Information taken from (S4).
S. Spooner (NLA) 12 May 2006

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon to 21st Century - 851 AD to 2100 AD)
  • CHANTRY COLLEGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG0331 D,E,P,Q,AH-AJ.
---Aerial Photograph: TG 0331/ AY, AZ.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1902. Hundred of Holt. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol IX. pp 109-122.
---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. pp 610-611.
---Photograph: 1989. St Peter's Church, Melton Constable. Print.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. p 195-196.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. Church target for thieves. 11 January.
<S3>Article in Monograph: Heywood, S. 1996. Romanesque Architecture in Norfolk. A Festival of Norfolk Archaeology. Margeson, S., Ayers, B. and Heywood, S. (eds). pp 72-85. p 76.
<S4>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1049221.

Related records - none

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