Record Details

NHER Number:4068
Type of record:Building
Name:St James' Church, Castle Acre


A large medieval parish church, dating mainly to the 14th and 15th centuries. The church contains a painted 15th century pulpit, and painted panels from a medieval screen which have been incorporated into stalls in the chancel. Other notable features include the font cover and 'ride in' door.


  • The nave and chancel of St James' Church, Castle Acre  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The 15th century pulpit in St James' Church, Castle Acre  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 8159 1503
Map Sheet:TF81NW

Full description

August 1960. Listed, Grade II.
Listing Description:
Parish Church. Largely 14th century and 15th century, with some c.1300 details, restored by Ewan Christian, architect. Rubble flint with squared knapped flint and cut stone dressings, leaded aisle, green slate nave and chancel roofs. West tower, five bay nave, clerestorey, north and south aisles, north porch, three bay chancel, north vestry. Perpendicular four stage west tower with two angle buttresses to each face. Perpendicular moulded arch west door. Large two stage four-light west embattled transom window, traceried upper panels. Sounding chamber has two quatrefoil sound-hole openings to each face. Bell stage has four two-light Perpendicular windows. Moulded stone plinth. Angle buttresses with five set offs, sixth stage above become angle clasping buttress with tracery panels. Battle- mented tracery panel parapet, flat roof. Two storey Perpendicular north porch with outer moulded arch. Large arched aumbry or stoup opening. Blocked three-light parvise window. Five bay north aisle has at west one three-light straight headed Perpendicular window, two windows under four-centred Perpendicular arches. Three central windows have rich Curvilinear tracery with two quatrefoils set in lozenges. Two east windows of Rectilinear tracery, richest at east. Five buttresses with two set offs. Five bay south aisle has four Perpendicular three-light windows, one two-light west Perpendicular window with battlemented transom. One three-light Perpendicular east window. Five bay Perpendicular clerestorey with three-light straight headed windows. Three bay chancel has re-set Early English south priest's door with collonnettes and moulded arch, blocked arch above. Two elaborate tracery three-light Perpendicular windows with battlemented transoms in upper lights. East window replaced by Ewan Christian with Early English style plate tracery. Four-light window. Distinctive two storey elevation 15th century north vestry with two two-light straight headed Perpendicular east windows, three north side rectangular slits. Angle buttress, stone parapet with four kneeling beast pinnacles.
Interior: five bay north and south arcades involve either 15th century re-building of c.1300 piers or insertion of alternate 15th century piers, all with Perpendicular double hollow chamfered arches. Almost detached shaft c.1300 quatrefoil piers with original moulded bases and capitals alternate with quatrefoil piers with 15th century bases and capitals. Perpendicular tower and chancel arches. Double frame nave roof has perhaps 17th century or 18th century arched upper trusses resting on main truss, 19th century boarding. Mid 19th century roofs elsewhere. 15th century octagonal stone font of simple design with roll mouldings running up from stem to bowl. Fine 15th century spire canopy with architectural frame of arches, buttresses and spirelets surviving, panels missing surviving. Tower arch with 18th century Commandment boards re-used in 20th century screen. Aisles have sides and upper arched trusses with crested framing of parclose screens. 15th century poppyhead benches in both aisles. Fine painted 15th century goblet pulpit with four Doctors of Latin Church. Rood stairs and rood loft door at south. Fine dado only of rood screen with painted Apostle panels. Chancel stalls with misericord seats, front panels made up from re-used screens. Large mutilated large piscina with cut back triangular spandrel with traces of trefoils, perhaps c.1300.
Information from (S1).

Alabaster figures found in the roof of the passage leading to the tower door.

Medieval sherds, tiles found.

This is one of the sixty five Norfolk churches selected for (S2).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

Lady Chapel in the north aisle was extended in the late fifteenth century, and a sacristy was added in the north- east corner of the church. The church was substantially restored in 1846 and again in 1875. The hexagonal font dates from the fifteenth century, and is surmounted by a Perpendicular font cover. Original red, green and gold paintwork has been uncovered during restoration works. The golden ball and dove on top of the font are probably not contemporary. The font cover still has a fifteenth- century mechanism to allow it to be lifted. George II coat of arms dated 1748 hangs above the tower arch. Pews dating from the 14th century with carved lions and collared dogs on the arms and poppyheads on the end of the benches are located beyond the choir stalls. A chest bearing the date 1636 is located in the south aisle. The church is constructed of flint, with stone quoins and buttresses.
See (S3) for further details
H. White (NLA), 17 August 2009.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FIGURINE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHEST (17th Century - 1637 AD to 1637 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1989. Bequest helps restore organ. 14 April.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1992. Lightning strike. 25 September.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1992. Church in daytime closure. 18 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Time to make most of our hidden gems. 22 April.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, B. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 242-244.
---Leaflet: Church of St James, Castle Acre..
---Leaflet: Bloom, J.H.. 1959. A short guide to the parish church of St james, Castleacre..
---Monograph: 2000. St James the Great - St James' Church, Castle Acre.
---Publication: The Nar Valley Group of Parishes. 2007. Voices of the Nar - celebrating a decade in the life of the Nar valley group of parishes. St James' Church, Castle Acre.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. Lightning hits church tower. 21 September.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1342386.
<S2>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Nairn, S.. 2000. St. James the Great, Castle Acre.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Diocese of Norwich. 2009. Norwich DAC summer outing 2009. 15th July.

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4151Related to: Medieval coffins (Find Spot)

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