The tower is square, and built of black flints in 1431, by Thomas Ingham. Its unusual pyramid cap was put on in 1906, when the tower had become so unsafe that the battlemented belfry stage was demolished.
The nave and transepts were totally rebuilt, as ‘a neat building of black flint’, by John and Margaret Paston in 1458, after they had acquired the advowson from St Mary’s College. A stone in a buttress near the north door records this – it shows a tree trunk without branches (= decay of the old church) with a new shoot (= the new building), together with the date of completion – 1460. The windows are uniformly Perpendicular, and allow much light into the building.
The chancel had been rebuilt in 1431 by Thomas Ingham and was rebuilt again in 1604 after it had collapsed: it is of rough rubble, plastered over, contrasting with the nave and transepts. Its windows are of an older pattern and have trefoil tracery in the heads. It is covered with peg-tiles, which date from the 1604 rebuilding.
Both the north and the south doors are original – of about 1460 – and have tracery which is similar to that in the windows.
The nave has wall - arcading, to frame each window. The nave roof is of low pitch, and angels with scrolls adorn it. There is a central boss, of Christ in Judgment.
The font is fifteenth-century, and its cover, with an open-work steeple, is dated 1605.
There are two squints which give a view from the nave into the transepts. In the south transept is a niche for a statue of St John the Baptist, and John Paston was buried in front of it. The headstops on the window in the south transept are supposed to represent him and his wife
In the north transept the doors to the rood-stair can be seen. The collapse of the chancel in 1604 demolished the rood-screen, and it was never replaced.
The east window is filled with pieces of mediæval glass. Blomefield, writing in 1741, says that much of the original glass survived in the chancel, but much was later lost through neglect. What remains has been assembled in this window.
There is one monument – on the west wall, to Matthew Goss, who died in 1779.
Nineteenth century - The church was one of the earliest to be affected by the Oxford Movement. The square pews were replaced by chairs, and the services took on a very ritualistic character, with candles, incense, and banners, and was ‘one of the most fashionable places of worship in Norwich’.
By the end of the century it was again in a bad way: in 1888, the tower was so dangerous an order was served on the churchwardens. In 1897, a large hole in the chancel roof was covered only by a tarpaulin.
Twentieth century - Although restored in 1906, the church was in bad state again by 1931, and was threatened with demolition. The Norfolk Archæological Trust raised money to repair it, and it was used as a museum of church art from 1936 until 1995
The church contains beautiful stained glass. To see magnified pictures and information on all the stained glass in this and other churches across Norfolk visit www.norfolkstainedglass.co.uk
|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|