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St Mary, Brettenham, Norfolk

(52°24′48″N, 0°50′16″E)
TL 931 833
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Norfolk
now Norfolk
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Jill A Franklin
01 Aug 1984

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Feature Sets

The present church consists of a nave, chancel, N and S transepts and W tower. The medieval structure was in a ruinous condition when it was remodelled in 1852 in the Decorated Gothic style of the 14thc by Samuel Saunders Teulon (1812-73) who added an octagonal vestry on the N side of the chancel. The only Romanesque sculpture occurs on the S doorway. This was retained and incorporated in the 19thc rebuilding, apparently in situ. The base of the medieval W tower and SW corner of the nave also survived.


Brettenham, in the hundred of Shropham, was held by Roger Bigod at the time of the Domesday Survey. Turgis held land there before 1066, while William of Bourneville had a holding when the survey was carried out. Dues were paid to the royal manor of Buckenham, chief manor of Shropham hundred. Brettenham was an ancient site of some importance, as indicated by the presence of a series of Bronze Age barrows known as the Seven Hills. There is also evidence of an Iron Age settlement, a large Roman market town and a 5thc cemetery. A significant Roman road, the Peddars Way, one of Norfolk’s ancient thoroughfares, enters the county here.


Exterior Features



The capitals are similar to some in the presbytery of Norwich Cathedral (1096—1119).


D. Dymond, The Norfolk Landscape, Bury St Edmunds, 2nd edn 1990, 43-4, 52.

P. Brown, (ed.), Domesday Book: Norfolk, 2 vols, London and Chichester 1984.

T. Williamson, The Origins of Norfolk, Manchester 1993, 38, 41, 67.

N. Pevsner and B. Wilson, The Buildings of England: Norfolk: North-West and South, Harmondsworth, 1962, revised 1999, 2:217-8.