NorfolkNORTHTUDDENHAMStMaryVirgin(davidCC-BY-SA2.0)1 David

St Mary the Virgin

Treasured church with a 14th century tower, loved for its stained glass windows, rood screens, windpipe organ and unique wall tiling.

North Tuddenham, Norfolk

Opening times

Generally open in the summer at weekends or by arrangement with churchwardens.
Morning prayer on Fridays.
Coach tour bookings accepted.

Address

Mattishall Lane
North Tuddenham
Norfolk
NR20 3DQ

At first glance the St Mary the Virgin in North Tuddenham, with its magnificent tower and great perpendicular windows, offers nothing particularly distinctive. Everything you see post dates the Black Death. The tower is the earliest part, from just before 1400, while the chancel and nave appear to date from the early 15th century.

As you walk into the north porch, still nothing remarkable, but if you glance sideways left and right at the porch windows you get a glimpse of what is to come. They are filled with ‘mosaics’ of the most delicate and lifelike medieval stained glass. And the moment you walk through the north door you are aware that there is something vastly different about this church.

The first impression is of an interior totally out of keeping with the exterior, yet magnificent. The bold geometric encaustic tiles that cover the walls to window height, suggest a cross between a Byzantine Church and a Museum of Victoriana. The first thing that catches the eye is the enormous east window, constructed 1860’s, with its almost garish stained glass by Ward and Wright, depicting scenes from Jesus life. The fine pipe organ built by Bevingtons of London, commissioned in 1875, has recently been fully restored and in the cavernous space within the church the acoustic is now terrific. There are no pillars in this church, so the sound is unimpeded!

Salvaged medieval glass is to be found under the Victorian glass in the west window: to the left, vividly portraying the martyrdom of St Margaret of Antioch, and on the right scenes from St George, rescuing the maiden and slaying the dragon. Looking towards the chancel, one’s eye is immediately drawn to the fine 15th century rood screen, consisting of eight vibrantly painted saints. Left to right, they are Agnes, Gregory, Dorothy, Jeron, Katherine, Edmund/Sebastian, Etheldreda and finally Roche. The colour and details on these panels is remarkable. Of less obvious quality are the panels on the tower screen, which date back to 1380-90 and depict the saints Matthew, Mark, Gregory and Augustine.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Glorious furnishings

  • National heritage here

  • Social heritage stories

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access throughout

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Ramp or level access available on request

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Festival Weekend in 2022 6th to 8th May. Church concerts once or twice a year. Fetes and sales. Coach parties and open air events.

  • Church of England

  • Cornerstone Grant, £30,000, 2020

  • Our Cornerstone Grants fund urgent repairs and essential community facilities such as toilets and kitchens to help keep churches open.

  • Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant, £10,000, 2020

  • Wolfson Fabric Repair Grants are awarded for urgent repair projects, based on our recommendation, to help keep churches open.

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Nicholas

East Dereham, Norfolk

Dereham's church is doubly impressive: not only is it a grand town church complete with integral tower, is also has a massive, quite separate, bell tower.