Record Details

NHER Number:7091
Type of record:Building
Name:St Mary's church


This church has medieval origins but has various later alterations. Much of the building dates to the 14th century, with restoration work being carried out during the 15th, 19th and 20th centuries. The tower may includes 11th/12th century features. During World War Two the church was damaged by a bomb that was dropped in the churchyard and a military aerial was placed on the top of the tower. There is a timber vault in the south porch, a restored 15th century screen and an Evangelist font.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3798 3114
Map Sheet:TG33SE

Full description

Possible Norman work, but church almost completely 14th century, thoroughly renovated in 15th century (possibly about 1480) and much 'restored' in mid 19th century. Demolished chapels and vestry.
Coffin slabs.
See report (S1), photographs (S2) and press cutting (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 22 October 1984.

September 2004. Norfolk NMP.
A small aerial associated with RAF Happisburgh radar station (NHER 14147) was placed on the church tower in 1942 (S4). This may account for some of the defences to the north of the churchyard visible on 1943 aerial photographs (NHER 38784). A bomb was dropped in the churchyard in 1940 (NHER 38700).
J. Albone (NMP), 7 September 2004.

February 2006.
West tower, nave, aisles, chancel. Tower and south aisle damaged by enemy action 1940, restored 1949-1951. Tower restored 1956-1958.
There is a timber vault in the south porch with a central boss featuring four Green Men. The 15th century screen has been much restored. 15th century octagonal font.
For further information see list description.
D. Robertson (NLA), 13 February 2006.

This is one of the sixty five Norfolk churches selected for (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 17 February 2006.

In the churchyard there is a mass grave for 119 souls lost from HMS Invincible off the Norfolk coast in 1801. This was discovered by chance in 1988 (S6).
D. Gurney (HES), 10 March 2015.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG3731A-E.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985. Willing workers ring the changes. 1 April.
---Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1169843.
---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. p 539.
---Unpublished Document: Trett, M.H.. The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Happisburgh, Norfolk..
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. [Photograph of St Mary's church]. 29 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Tribute to Nelson's tragic young sailors. 20 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Village tower tribute to Thomas. 10 August.
---Illustration: Ladbrooke. 1824. [unknown].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. [Article on Happisburgh]. 24 March.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. pp 159-160; Pl 31b.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1984. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Photograph: CQG 25-7.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1975. St. Mary's bells will not ring out. 19 November.
<S4>Article in Serial: Stevens, T.. 2004. Ramblings from Happisburgh.. The Royal Air Force Air Defence Radar Museum Newsletter. Vol 40.
<S5>Publication: Jenkins, S. 2000. England's Thousand Best Churches.
<S6>Website: 2009. Happisburgh Village Website.

Related records

55213Related to: St Mary's churchyard, Happisburgh (Monument)

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