Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St Mary’s has Saxon foundations and is built in Norman and Early English styles. A mediaeval record suggests that the young St Edmund, who became King of the East Angles, spent a year with the priests in Attleborough before his Coronation in Suffolk in 856. The present church is only part of the original construction. The square Norman tower, now at the East end, was at the centre of a cross-shaped building in 1100. Over the next 200 years, the church was altered and extended. By 1300, the tower had a spire, which was to fall around 1700. The whole of the Eastern end beyond the tower, consisting of the chancel and choir, was given over to the College of the Holy Cross, a college of priests founded in the late fourteenth century by Sir Robert Mortimer. He also enlarged the nave for the parishioners. After the closure of the College at the Reformation, the chancel was demolished.The Grade I listed church is most famous for its historic Rood Screen, which has been described as “one of the most precious possessions of our English churches”. Dated around 1475, the 52-foot-long oak screen is the only one in Norfolk to stretch across the nave and both side aisles, and is the longest Rood Screen in East Anglia. The church also has significant wall paintings dating from around 1500.The church now consists of a clerestoried nave of five bays, with north and south aisles, and chapels beyond the screen with the Norman tower standing between them. One chapel now houses the organ and the other chapel houses vestries. The oak roof of the nave dates from the fifteenth century and was restored in 1908.
The grant will help the church carry out a detailed feasibility study.