The largest of the Norwich churches. It was founded possibly by Ralph de Guader, the earl of Norfolk shortly after 1066 as one of the three churches in the new ‘French Borough’ (the others were St Stephen and St Giles). The original church appears to have had a central tower. The present building was erected in a single campaign between 1430 and 1455. The wealth of the parish is shown by the fact that it is entirely faced with freestone, and flint is used only for flushwork. It retains its mediæval appearance externally with the exception of the top of the tower: the spire, ‘pepperpots’ at the corners, and zig-zag parapet were added in 1895.
The tower is carried on arches, and there was a passageway under the chancel also, until it was blocked by the late twentieth-century octagon. These formed a processional way round outside of the church. The church’s immense length (180 feet), and the fact that it has no structural chancel, are easily seen from outside. There is also a three-storey vestry attached to the east end.
Inside, the church is impressive. The arcades run west to east for eight bays, uninterrupted by a chancel arch, and are covered by a hammerbeam roof, in which the hammer-beams are hidden by ribbed coving.
The interior bears the marks of a thorough re-ordering in 1851-6. Of note are the font canopy of mediæval date: it was heavily restored in the 1850s. A complete one is at Trunch. It stands over a seven-sacrament font, much defaced, given to the church in 1463. The reredos is of 1886, by Seddon; the seated Christ and some extra figures were added in 1930 by Comper.
The glory of the church is its east window, the best surviving example of Norwich glass. (There was a good deal more, but it was lost in an explosion close by in 1648.) The window dates from the fifteenth century, and contains forty-two panels, with stories of Christ, the Virgin, and various saints. The seven central panels are replacement work of 1888.
The church contains medieval stained glass of national significance To see magnified pictures and information on the stained glass in this and other churches across Norfolk visit www.norfolkstainedglass.co.uk
Many memorials are on the walls and in the floor, all reflecting the wealth and social standing of those they commemorate. That for Sir Thomas Browne (author of Religio Medici, etc), is on the south wall of the sanctuary.
To learn about the main characters linked with the church and the roles they played in history click here
The church has a website, with more information at: http://www.stpetermancroft.org.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|