Attleborough – St. Mary’s Church

One advantage of looking at medieval churches in remote villages is that the buildings make some sort of sense to someone such as myself, who has a limited understanding of the architecture and evolution of the structures. St. Mary’s in Attleborough makes, at first sight, very little sense with all of its all additions and removals over the centuries. There has been a church here since Saxon times, likely the ninth century, although the current structure is mostly from the eleventh century onwards.

Unfortunately, this plan isn’t the clearest in terms of the quality. But it’s indicative at least, the north porch is visible on the left and Mortimer’s Chapel in the top-right.

This is the north porch and work started on this in the late fourteenth century and it was completed early on during the fifteenth century. Unfortunately, all of the statues which once stood in the niches are no longer present.

The west end of the church.

The area between the north porch and the west end of the nave.

Back to the north side of the building, this is the outside of the north aisle, which was a later addition.

The church’s complexity is evident here, it looks more like a closed down priory converted into a new building. But, this is where the chancel once stood, which was taken down in 1541. The tower, which dates from the twelfth century at the base and the thirteenth century at the top, then became the east end rather than the central tower that it once was. It also left a rather muddled appearance, although it all adds character. The tower did once have a spire that was built in around 1300, but that fell down in around 1700. Which isn’t entirely ideal.

An illustration of the church from the mid-nineteenth century.

An old doorway in the base of the east end of the church.

This is the south side of the church, where a new extension was added in 1994 to house a community centre.

Given the current health situation, the interior of the church wasn’t open, but I understand it’s worth seeing with numerous old treasures, including wall paintings and the rood screen. So, I’ll meander back at some point.