Record Details

NHER Number:583
Type of record:Building
Name:St Laurence's Church, St Benedict's Street, Norwich


This former parish church is now redundant and only contains a font, 20th century reredos depicting St Walstan and damaged brass plaques. The building dates to the 15th century and has a west tower, combined nave and chancel, north and south aisles along with porches. The west door has good carved spandrels showing St Edmund being arrowed and St Laurence being grilled. The current church replaces the one at this location mentioned in the Domesday Book and has been subject to Victorian restorations. Interestingly the top of the tower was used as a tank for water in 1584. Additionally, the clock here is the oldest in Norfolk and is believed to come from Hexham Priory and therefore possibly have monastic origins.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 22749 08785
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

St Laurence's Church, St Benedict's Street.

Church mentioned in Domesday Book 1166 AD.
Rebuilt 1460 AD.
R. R. Clarke (NCM).

February 1954. Listed, Grade I.
Listing Description Excerpt:
"Former Parish Church now redundant. 15th century. Flint with stone and brick dressings. Ashlar facing on clerestory. Slate and lead roofs. West tower. Nave and chancel in one. North and south aisles and porches. South rood-stair turret. North-east vestry. Three-stage tower with four stages of diagonal buttresses."
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 17 January 2018. Amended H. Hamilton (HES), 8 November 2019.

1970s or 1980s. Building Survey.
Examined as part of Norwich Survey.
See draft report (S2) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 17 January 2018.

By 1982 the church was technically redundant, having been disused for eight years. Little maintanence work had been carried out and there was therefore a pressing need to secure both a programme of repair work and a new use for the building.
For further details see minutes of meeting held on 11 October 1982 (S3), list of proposed possible uses (S4) and schedules of repairs drawn up by a local firm of chartered quantity surveyors (S5).
P. Watkins (HES), 17 January 2018.

October 1984. Field Observation.
Removal of exterior facing ashlar from the south side fo the clerestory (presumably during repair work) revealed evidence that, at least on the south side, the nave clerestory predates the chancel clerestory. The uniformity of the roof does though suggest that this was probably one a fairly short pause between these two phases of construction.
See notes (S6) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 17 January 2018.

Massive 15th-century bellframe containing two bells that may be those from the Chapel in the Fields (NHER 618); other bells recast in 17th century and 1701; more bells added in 1737 weakening frame.
See note (S7) on possible transfer of six bells to Blakeney.

Church stated by Diocese Advisory Committee to be disused in 1991 containing only a font, 19th century reredos and damaged brass plaques (date not given).
E. Rose (NAU), 8 November 1991.

The clock is the oldest in Norfolk, believed to come from Hexham Priory and possibly of monastic origin. Information from source [1].
It is noted in (S8) that the porch has precisely the same moulding as the main south doorway to the Dark Entry, Norwich Cathedral and suggests this means the same builder used the same template.
E. Rose (NLA) 14 July 1998.

This is taken up by (S9) who says St Laurence's was rebuilt in 1388, not 1460 as Clarke (above) - unless there were two rebuildings.
E. Rose (NLA) 21 December 2000.

In 1584 the top of the tower was used as a tank for the city water supply from New Mills (S10).
E. Rose (NLA), 8 December 2003.

The stained glass had been removed from the church and the chancel levelled by 1643.
See (S11).
E. Rose (NLA) 25 April 2005.

See notes in file on (S12) on the Ritualist history of the church in the 19th century.
E. Rose (NLA), 24 April 2006.

It is stated in (S13) that the reredos was in fact made in 1921 by John Hamond and designed by Edward Trench as a war memorial; it depicts St Walstan.
E. Rose (NLA), 16 May 2006.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1450 AD to 2100 AD)
  • WATER TOWER (16th Century to 19th Century - 1584 AD to 1900 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • CLOCK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • Xbell frame (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No N22; p 175.
---Publication: Cox, J. C. 1911. Country Churches: Norfolk. Vol II. pp 181-182.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 242.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. Church tower is a top job for a builder!. 8 June.
---Article in Serial: Harrod, H. 1859. Goods and Ornaments of Norwich Churches in the Fourteenth Century. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol V pp 89-121. pp 110-112.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Unpublished Document: Whittingham, A. 1972. St Lawrence.
---Unpublished Document: [Unknown]. 1982. St Lawrence. Style Sheet. February 1982.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1372459.
<S2>Unpublished Report: [Unknown]. [unknown]. St Lawrence [draft report].
<S3>Unpublished Document: [Unknown]. 1982. Meeting to Discuss the Church of St Lawrence [minutes].
<S4>Unpublished Document: [Unknown]. 1982. The Church of St. Lawrence - Possible Uses.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Colman, D. B. 1982. Norwich St. Laurence - Phase 1 Repairs [schedules of repairs and associated costs].
<S6>Unpublished Document: [Unknown]. 1984. St Lawrence October 21 1984.
<S7>Unpublished Document: Cattermole, P. [Unknown]. Transfer of the Ring of Six Bells from Norwich St Lawrence to Blakeney.
<S8>Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1932. The City Churches of Norwich. pp 47-51.
<S9>Article in Monograph: Fawcett, R. 1996. The Influence of the Gothic Parts of the Cathedral on Church Building in Norfolk. Norwich Cathedral, Church, City and Diocese 1096-1996. Atherton, I. et al (eds.). pp 210-227. p 221.
<S10>Article in Serial: Durst, D.. 2002. New Mills Air Compressor.. NIAS Journal. Vol 7, no 2. p 90.
<S11>Publication: Spraggon, J. 2003. Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War. p 112.
<S12>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. 2006. Church of St Lawrence - History of Ritualism in 19th century. Notes from lecture by N Groves at Cambridge 2006.
<S13>Article in Serial: Twinch, C. 2006. The reredos in the church of St Laurence, Norwich. Church Archaeology. Vol 7/8/9 (for 2003-2005) pp 147-148. vol 7-9, p147.

Related records

Site 2125Parent of: Church of St Laurence (Monument)
Site 2628Parent of: Church of St Laurence (Monument)
Site 1852Parent of: Church of St. Laurence, St. Benedict's Street (Monument)
841Parent of: Post medieval objects from the graveyard of St Lawrence's Church, St Benedicts Street (Find Spot)
Mon 1272Parent of: St Laurence Church (Early Church) (Monument)
Mon 413Parent of: St Laurence Church (Monument)
Mon 1274Parent of: St Laurence Churchyard (Monument)
Mon 1171Part of: Lower Westwick Street (Monument)
Mon 1111Part of: Upper Westwick Street / St Benedicts Street (Monument)
MNO8536Related to: Church of St. Lawrence St. Benedict's Street NORWICH (Revoked)

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