St. Mary Coslany


The tower is the most striking feature of the outside, as it is round. Round towers were a ‘fashion statement’, and have nothing to do with the local lack of freestone for quoins – it is actually more difficult to build a round tower. They occur in large numbers in Norfolk and Suffolk, and in a few other places, but also across the North Sea. Their date is problematic. This one has triangular-headed windows, which would indicate Anglo-Saxon work, but the shafts are of Caen stone, which would suggest a later date. These windows had been blocked, and were only rediscovered when the tower was reduced in height in 1906: there had been an octagonal Gothic belfry added in the fifteenth century. It may well be the oldest of the four round towers in Norwich. (The others are at St Julian, St Etheldreda, and St Benedict)

The rest of the exterior is of piece, having been entirely rebuilt in the 1460s. The south porch is 1466, with a freestone facing, with a tierceron vault inside. It has the usual arrangement of a niche for a statue between two windows.


The windows are all Perpendicular, with the exception of a blocked Decorated one on the north side of the chancel, and the traces of the original Decorated east window, not quite obliterated by the new Perpendicular one.


The roof is the main feature. Basically original, though much repaired in the 1906 restoration, and again in 1942 after war damage. It is arch-braced, and the nave and transepts are treated as one space. They meet over the ‘crossing’ with diagonal ribs, centring on a gilded boss of the Assumption of the Virgin. There are angels around it. (Compare a similar arrangement at St Peter Hungate.)

The mediæval interior had a rood screen across the chancel arch, and probably screens across the transepts, too. These were swept away, along with the altars that stood in the chapels, and the images (there are two image niches halfway along the nave walls, about six feet above the ground) in the sixteenth century.

Nineteenth and early twentieth century – The church was restored in 1857, but by 1890 it was closed and neglected. It was restored in 1905.

Later twentieth century -  After final closure in 19.. and redundancy in 1974, the church went though a variety of uses, including an Arts & Crafts centre, and an antique market. It is currently used by a publishing firm. An appropriate use, as one of the people baptized here was Luke Hansard (1752-1828), who first published the House of Commons Journal, still referred to by his name.

The other furnishings, though still referred to in the Pevsner volume, have been removed and dispersed.


There is an engraved monument to Peter de Lingcole dated 1298 on the north wall of the nave. Additionally there are fine examples of memorials covering every century from the 16th through to the nineteenth They include the piece to Martinus Van Kurnbeck

To see details of the monuments click here

Stained Glass
To see magnified pictures and information on all the stained glass in this and other churches across Norfolk visit


Churches managed by NHCT are highlighted in in bold below. Click to visit a church.
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