Record Details

NHER Number:7402
Type of record:Building
Name:St Michael's and All Angels' church, Aylsham


This is a large and complicated cruciform building. It was built in the early 14th century and completed in the late 14th century, perhaps under the orders of John of Gaunt. The chancels and chapels were rebuilt in the late 15th/early 16th century and later alterations were also made before the entire building was restored in the 19th century. The rood screen dates to 1507 and there is a medieval ringers' gallery. The landscape gardener Humphrey Repton is buried in the graveyard. Excavations in 2004 found evidence for medieval features related to the construction of the church. To the northeast of the chancel there is a very rare mort safe (a wrought iron frame over a grave to prevent the body from being exhumed).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1925 2702
Map Sheet:TG12NE

Full description

Large and complicated cruciform building. Basically early 14th century; completed late 14th century (under John of Gaunt?). Chancels and chapels rebuilt late 15th/early 16th. Later alterations and 19th century restoration. Extension beyond east wall. Contains excellent rood screen of 1507; brasses and memorials; medieval ringers gallery. Tomb of H. Repton in yard.

Foundations of a wall found in churchyard.
See (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 6 July 1992.

May 1961. Listed Grade I.
Listing Description excerpt:
"Fabric mainly of 14th century and 15th century, much restored in 1852. Flint, partly rubble work, partly knapped with good flushwork panels: lead covered roofs. West tower, south porch, north and south aisles, transepts, chancel and chancel aisles. 14th-century tower with good four-light west window with late Decorated tracery. Traceried bell openings. Tower roof surmounted lead-covered spirelet, probably early 17th century. Two-storey south porch 15th century, but lower storey may be 14th century. Fine flushwork flint panels. Canopied niche flanked by two-light windows. South aisle faced in knapped flint with flushwork-panelled battlements. 15th-century transepts and chancel chapels of two bays
...Memorial to Humphry Repton and his family against south wall of chancel.
Churchyard bounded by coped red brick boundary wall, with four-centred arched opening to Old Vicarage."
Information from (S2).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S2) for the current listing details.
P. Watkins (HES), 3 February 2022.

November 2004. Watching Brief. Contexts 10-48 used.
Monitoring of works at north-west end of the church.
Probable medieval cuts for the church walls and western pillars were found but contained no dating evidence.
Various graves/charnel pits and a brick soakaway drain cut into the floor of the church were thought likely to date to the 18th century or earlier.
Three brick crypts were found, along with related late 18th century memorials.
Unstratified prehistoric worked flints also found.
See report (S2) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S8).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2016.178).
J. Allen (NLA), 27 June 2006. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 June 2019.

2006. Mort safe noted in churchyard to northeast of chancel (hooped iron type not a true mort safe) Extremely rare survival.
See (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 7 July 2006.

July 2011. Eastern Daily Press.
A building in the churchyard of Aylsham's St Michael's Parish church has been restored, a mezzanine floor installed, and has been opened as a heritage centre.
See (S7) for further details.
D. Lefeuvre (HES), 1 August 2011.

The organ was built by Norman & Beard in 1911. It was awarded an Historic Organ Certificate (Grade 1) in 2012 as it is the largest surviving organ with an unusual console and patent Norman & Beard tubular pneumatic ‘Norwich’ Action. The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted £74,800 towards the total of over £100,000 needed to faithfully restore the organ, without alteration (S9).
D. Gurney (HES), 7 April 2016.

Monument Types

  • WALL (Unknown date)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)
  • CHARNEL PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GRAVE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MORT SAFE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SOAKAWAY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COFFIN (17th Century to 18th Century - 1700 AD to 1799 AD)
  • CRYPT (17th Century to 18th Century - 1700 AD to 1799 AD)

Associated Finds

  • Xbell frame (Undated)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FONT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PISCINA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOD SCREEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOD SCREEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Yates, E. T. 1849. Figure and description of the font at Aylsham. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol II pp 83-86.
---Article in Serial: Rye, W. 1872. Norfolk Church Goods, Temp. Edward VI. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VII pp 20-44. pp 29-31.
---Aerial Photograph: TG1927 D-F.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1905. Hundred of South Erpingham. The Churches of Norfolk. Vol XIV. pp 8-37.
---Documentary Source: Martin, T. c. 1700-1799. Collections of Church Notes. Norfolk Records Office. Walter Rye Collection. RYE 17.. 1713.
---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 363-365; Pl 35, Pl 58.
---Photograph: KXN-KXP.
---Leaflet: A short guide to St Michael's Church, Aylsham..
---Photograph: LYL 16-19.
---Unpublished Document: Spurrell. History of Aylsham.. 1.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2015. Church celebrates completion of jubilee window restoration. 7 February.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Aylsham.
---Photograph: FVL 3-4.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 1992. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1051583.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Crawley, P. E. 2006. An Archaeological Watching Brief at St Michael's Church, Aylsham, Norfolk. NAU Archaeology. 1020.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 2006. Building report addendum. Building Report.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1969. Georgian Group party visits Repton's tomb. 14 January.
<S6>Article in Serial: 1968. Humphrey Repton Remembered. Country Life. 11 April.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. [Photograph of St Michael's and All Angels' church, Aylsham]. 2 October.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. [Articles on the Heritage Centre].
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2005. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2004. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 751-763. p 751.
<S10>Article in Serial: Haines, C. 2016. A Norman & Beard Organ Restoration.

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