Norwich St Mary Coslany

What you need to know about this church

St Marys Church Norwich

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Mary is a redundant church located in Coslany in the City of Norwich. It is the care of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust.

This church is used privately now, see website below for details

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Norwich St Mary Coslany church
Tower from the west
Norwich St Mary Coslany church
Tower from south-west

Visiting Norwich St Mary Coslany

St Mary Coslany is located in the City of Norwich, which is reputed to have had 52 medieval churches within its city walls! Inevitably today there is no need of so many for parochial purposes. This is another redundant church, which is in the care of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, and now used as a book store. Thus, I have not been able to make photos of the interior yet.

The round tower of St Mary Coslany is perhaps the oldest of the many church towers in Norwich. It clearly dates back to the 11th century with its double belfry openings, made with flints, with the triangular heads supported by a central shaft. However these openings were not known about until the restoration after it had been reported in 1906 that “tower cracked from top to bottom, portion falling out exposing bells and bell-frame”! There is a previous report that the tower had an octagonal belfry, built about 1480.  The tower shown in a print done in the 1820s, by James Sillett, shows a round tower all the way up, and a taller tower than is there now. It appears there had been major restorations done long before the ones in 1906!

This Church has transepts to the north and south, and wills survive leaving money to the building of these in 1464 and 1466. All the windows are 15th century ones with Perpendicular tracery, with particularly large ones at the ends of the two transepts, except for the north-east chancel window, which is blocked but still has tracery from the 14th century.

The impressive south porch is faced with dressed stone. It has two windows to its upper room, either side of a canopied statue niche, with a 17 th century sundial below. In the porch is a stone ceiling with lierne vaulting of ribs. The parvise (upper room) was used as a school room at one time. It still has 17 pegs along the wall plate to hold the parish fire buckets, complying with an order made in 1540.

There is a fine roof above the nave, particularly at the crossing where the two transoms meet the nave, with a central boss of Christ in Majesty surrounded by rays, and angels marking the intersections of the beams. There are several interesting memorials. On the south chancel wall is one for Clement Hyrne, who was Mayor in 1593. He is shown kneeling at a prayer desk opposite his wife Margaret, with two sons and one daughter behind them. On the north chancel wall is a monument for Martin van Kurnbeck †1578 and his wife Joan. Here the figures are cut into the stone, not inlaid with brass! In the north transept there is a brass plate for Anne Claxton, †1605, with hedgehogs in her heraldic arms. Norwich City’s Arms, with a castle, can be seen in the glass of the north window. On the west wall is a replica plaque saying “I Thomas de Lincoln have given to this altar a torch and a lamp and the rent in Colegate”.  He was a tanner and a Bailiff of the City in 1275 and 1281. The altar was to the Holy Trinity, placed at the west end of the nave.

Conclusion: not longer in use as a church, but with interesting tower

Norwich St Mary Coslany church
Gargoyle on tower top
Norwich St Mary Coslany church
Church from south-east