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All Saints, Old Buckenham, Norfolk

(52°28′52″N, 1°2′33″E)
Old Buckenham
TM 067 914
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Norfolk
now Norfolk
  • Jill A Franklin
Aug 1984

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Feature Sets

All Saints comprises a chancel, nave, N aisle and polygonal W tower. The tower and chancel date from the 14thc and were restored in the mid-19thc. Both nave and chancel are thatched. All that can be easily detected of the early fabric of the church is the reset N doorway-which bears the building's only Romanesque sculpture-and the W wall of the nave.


Buckenham, chief manor of the Hundred of Shropham, belonged to the king. Before the Norman Conquest, it was held by Earl Ralph. At one time a significant settlement fortified by earthworks of early but uncertain date, Old Buckenham was presumably already in decline when William Albini II gave the site and materials of its Norman castle to the community of Augustinian canons he had founded there in 1146, for the construction of their priory. William had other castles nearby, notably at New Buckenham, the town which he himself planted in the 1140s-50s.


Exterior Features



The Romanesque doorway in the N wall stands in a building which has a 14thc N nave arcade and thus must have been dismantled and reassembled in the new aisle wall during the Gothic refurbishment of the church. The N side of the Gothic church was the most elaborately decorated and was presumably especially important. The decision to reuse the old Romanesque door suggests that it was highly prized for its design or antiquity. At the time of the visit, the doorway had a coat of grey limewash.


H. J. Dukinfield Astley, Memorials of Old Norfolk, London, 1908, 198.

D. Dymond, The Norfolk Landscape, Bury St Edmunds, 1990, 147-8.

N. Pevsner and B. Wilson, The Buildings of England: Norfolk: North-West and South, Harmondsworth, 1962, revised 1999, 2:577-8.

Victoria History of the Counties of England: Norfolk, London, 1906, 2:376.

T. Williamson, The Origins of Norfolk, Manchester, 1993, 180.