Moulton St Mary

What you need to know about this church

St Marys Church Moulton

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Marys is a redundant church located in Moulton, a Norfolk village 3 miles south of Acle. It is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

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Moulton St Mary church
Tower and porch from the south
Moulton St Mary church
St Christophorus painting
Moulton St Mary church
Detail of painting south wall

Visiting Moulton St Mary

The Churches Conservation Trust took over responsibility for the church of St Mary’s in Moulton in 1980. Like all their churches, it is always open. Its round tower, topped by a red-tiled cone, reaches only just above the nave ridge, and no longer has any sign of a belfry. There are just one slit opening facing south and one square one facing north. The tower is probably late 13th century, built with the church which had lancet windows. Some of the chancel ones have wood replacing the stone work, a cheaper 18C option. Inevitably some of the nave windows have been replaced with something bigger and better. Put-log holes, to support the horizontal scaffolding poles, can be seen as squares amongst the flints, framed with “great” bricks, larger than the standard size, being 11″ x 5½” x 23 or 24″. The entire east wall of the chancel was rebuilt in red-brick in the 18th century. The south porch was added in the 16th century, made of Tudor bricks.

Above the pointed tower arch is a magnificent set of Decalogue boards from the 17th century, showing the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Creed. The font is a typical 13th century Purbeck marble one, with two pointed arches on each panel of the bowl, and standing on eight pillars and a central column. On the north nave wall, easily visible from the main doorway, is an early 14th century wall painting of St Christopher carrying the Christ Child, now somewhat faded, but fish can still be discerned swimming round his legs.

Opposite, high on the south nave wall, are an important series of arched panels of mid 14th century paintings, showing the Seven Acts of Mercy. These are (E-W): welcoming strangers, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, giving food to cripples, visiting prisoners, burying the dead, and visiting the sick, with Christ, his hand raised in blessing, between the fourth and fifth panels. The scrolls had written texts from St Matthew’s Gospel chapter 25.

There is no screen dividing the nave and chancel, but the chancel has a lower, plastered ceiling, and there is a cross against the east nave gable. Below this is a fine Jacobean pulpit with a tester overhead. Opposite this is the square reading desk, with the date 1619, again with typical Jacobean carvings. In the floor by the front south pews is a small figure brass for Thomasine Palmer †1544.

The chancel has a double piscina, from about 1300, with three shafts and a pierced star above the arches, and a dropped-sill sedilia. Above is a memorial for the Anguish Family. The top part shows the half-figure of Edmond †1616, with his hands on a skull. Below him are the kneeling figures at a prayer desk, of his son Richard †1626 and his wife Abraha †1627, with one son and one daughter kneeling behind them. The crest at the top shows an anguis (snake) sleeping in a green fern bush. Their shield is also on a panel in the east window, for Thomas Anguish †1785.

Conclusion: open church with spectacular wall paintings

Moulton St Mary church
Font with Decalogue boards
Moulton St Mary church
Moulton St Mary church
Anguish memorial