The sanctuary is raised up over the alley to the east; the great window is only visible from the garden of Strangers' Hall, next door. At the other end the Tower dominates the narrow alley, which is pinched tighter still by an elegant little West Porch. Think of the small grass plain to the south as a stage: the great high clerestorey serves as backdrop and the South Porch forms the focal point.
The exterior presents a uniform appearance as the church was totally rebuilt (apart from the tower) in the 14th century. The short tower was surmounted by a spire until 1840. Notice how high the building is in relation to its length: you will then be prepared for the dramatic effect of the interior.
In the large porch with its fine ribbed vault, notice the boss showing St. Gregory teaching a music class. The tower vault has carved corbels, from , which the vault springs, and a bell hole just above your head.
The wooden roof is original. It is simple and almost barn-like, but with carved bosses and angel corbels. They were once coloured like those in the South Aisle.
The late 14th-century font is very fine. It stands, symbolically, at the entrance to the body of the church. The bowl is supported by angels. They look down on grotesque heads of creatures at the base of the stem whose bodies seem to have been crushed by it: a vivid representation of good triumphing over evil through Baptism. Its elaborate carved wooden cover dates from the 17th-century.
The magnificent tower arch and the high vault to the ringing gallery are an even more splendid version of the lower vault which supports the gallery. The Tower is probably the oldest part of the building. Blocked round openings, not visible on the re-faced exterior, are thought to be Saxon.
The main body of the church seems to have been built in the late 14th century. This was a time of transition from the flowing lines and flame-like double curves of the Decorated style to the more severe straight lines of the Perpendicular. Thus the Clerestorey windows, presumably built first, are still in the Decorated style, but the Aisle windows, though retaining the pointed arch of the Decorated style, have Perpendicular style tracery. They are known to be by Robert Wodehirst, who also worked on the Cathedral. They pair up with the windows in the north walk of the cloister there, which was finished in 1430. The Cathedral Priory were patrons of St Gregory, and paid for the rebuilding of the chancel. This is a rare instance of being able to name a mason who worked on a parish church.
The 15th-century wall paintings in St Gregory's have been recognised as being some of the very best in England. The St George and the Dragon in the North Aisle was discovered by chance in 1861.
The Four Doctors of the Church in the South Aisle were discovered in 1979 but were not fully uncovered and conserved until 1999. The surviving fragments include most of St Gregory, the face and other fragments of St Ambrose and the spindle back chair of the stall of St Jerome. Nothing of St Augustine of Hippo survives. During the conservation of the Four Doctors, a painting of the Annunciation was also found in the same area: the Virgin Mary, the face of God and the Spirit coming down like a dove as well as fragments of the Angel's wing can be clearly seen.
In the Sanctuary, is a row of misericord stalls carved with a lion, a bearded man sitting on his haunches and two angels. In the South Aisle see the 17th-century fretwork royal coat of arms and fragments of at least three layers of post-Reformation text painted on the wall.
Most of the stained glass is from the late 19th-century and is by J and J King of Norwich. The best of the Victorian windows is at the east end of the North Aisle, almost hidden by the organ. Fragments of 15th-century glass can be seen in a panel in one of the north windows.To see magnified pictures and information on all the stained glass in this and other churches across Norfolk visit www.norfolkstainedglass.co.uk
When the church became redundant a 14th century sanctuary knocker and a 16th century bell were placed in the care of The Castle Museum. A 15th century Eagle lectern was moved to St. Giles Church where it is still used.
There are many fine wall monuments from the seventeenth through to the early nineteenth centuries.These commemorate families of influence and wealth both locally and nationally.
Similarly a number of monuments in the church have been designed by sculptors renowned nationaly as well as those who built their reputation in the Norwich school - these include Sir Peter Seaman's monument which was designed by Thomas Green of Camberwell whilst Joseph Chamberlin's stone is attributed to Ivory workshop and Mary Bateman's was executed by Robert Singleton
To learn about the main characters linked with the church and the roles they played in history click here
|All Saints Westlegate||St. George Tombland||St. Julian||St. Michael at Plea|
|St. Andrew||St. Giles||St. Lawrence||St. Peter Hungate|
|St. Augustine||St. Gregory||St. Margaret||St. Peter Mancroft|
|St. Benedict||St. Helen||St. Martin at Oak||St. Peter Parmentergate|
|St. Clement||St. James Pockthorpe||St. Martin at Palace Plain||St. Saviour|
|St. Edmund Fishergate||St. John de Sepulchre||St. Mary Coslany||St. Simon & St. Jude|
|St. Etheldreda||St. John Maddermarket||St. Mary the Less||St. Stephen|
|St. George Colegate||St. John Timberhill||St. Michael(Miles) Coslany||St. Swithin|