Bagthorpe, St Mary

The church of St Mary was heavily restored in 1853, which Blomefield said succeeded ‘a very little, mean edifice’. The architect for this work was W.J. Dunthorn with Harper and Son of Syderstone as the contractor. Not much remains of its Norman origins apart from its very fine font. Even this was removed to St Peter’s Hungate but fortunately was eventually returned to the church. The font is 2ft 6 inches square with columns at the angles with just the north side being decorated.

Inside the church there are some interesting sketches of what the church looked like before 1853 and there is also a memorial to a 19thcentury diplomat, one George William Chad, who clearly had a peripatetic career. The east window is in the style of C.A. Gibbs in 1850 and depicts the Life of Christ. One of the corbels on the chancel arch is a figure of Simon Zelotes with his emblem – a saw.

We do not know for sure why the church was made redundant, but the village was very sparsely settled. The Norfolk Churches Trust took the church under its wing on 1 October 1979 and since then occasional services and marriages have been held there.

St Mary’s, postcode PE31 6QY, is always open during daylight hours, and keyholder can be contacted on 01485 578528.

Find out more about this church on the Norfolk Heritage Explorer.

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