Rollesby St George

What you need to know about this church

St Georges Church Rollesby

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Georges church is located in Rollesby, a Norfolk village about 2 miles south of Martham.

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Rollesby St George church
Tower from the south-west
Rollesby St George church
Heraldic dog

Visiting Rollesby St George

The most striking feature of Rollesby St George’s church is of course the tower. At 66 feet tall, this is the highest round tower in Norfolk. It also seems very slender, with two octagonal stages on top of the circular part, which reaches to the height of the nave ridge. All three stages were built at the same time, with perhaps the chequered parapet being added in the 15th century. There are aisles on both sides, but the clerestory on the north has double light openings, and on the south side are 14th century quatrefoils. The south aisle is wider, therefore its sloping roof gives less space for a clerestory. The south nave has no porch, but its doorway is very fine with multi-cusping in its arch. The north porch was added in 1496.

At the four corners of the 15th century chancel there are little turrets on top of the angle buttresses, each crowned with a seated talbot (heraldic dog). Possibly they are the badge of the donor who paid for the chancel.

The pillars for the arcades on either side are octagonal, except for the two western ones, which are round! The font here has a replacement bowl, in the style of a 13th century Purbeck font, with two pointed arches on each panel, but this one is made of Beer stone. At the east end of the nave, on either side of the chancel arch, are two “squints”, (holes through the walling), so that a priest officiating at the side altars in the aisles could see the main high altar, and not get ahead during the Mass Service.

In the chancel’s south-east corner is a curious structure like a small shed, which was possibly to house a reliquary (sacred relic) or maybe used for a confessional (for the Priest to hear of the penitent’s sins). In the opposite east corner is the stone effigy of Rose Claxton, †1601, on a tomb chest with shields. She is lying on her side, propped up on three cushions with her hand supporting her head, wearing a full-skirted Elizabethan dress and a ruff round her neck. On the south wall is a monument for Leonard Mapes †1619 and his wife Katherine, kneeling either side of a prayer desk, with seven sons and two daughters behind them. Below are a headless man, presumably a son, and his wife with one daughter.

On our previous visits, the church was locked with a keyholder shown, but according to the Exploring Norfolk Churches website it is now open daily. A fact we have to make use of soon, as the quality of the interior photos is really poor.

Conclusion: nice rural open church with striking tower

Rollesby St George church
Rollesby St George church
East window