OUTSIDE THE CHURCH
Take a close look at the flint work and notice the contrasting work of the medieval masons and those of the nineteenth century. Both are most beautifully done. Look up at the soaring tower which is magnificently proportioned and topped with a small lead covered spirelet supporting a gilded cockerel added in the early eighteenth century. Notice the many ‘putlog’ holes which have been filled in with bricks.
IN THE CHURCHYARD, close to the north-east corner of the chancel are the graves of Anna and David Hinderer who were pioneering C.M.S. missionaries in West Africa in the mid-nineteenth century, founding the Christian church at Ibadan in what is now Nigeria. Anna died at Martham in 1870 whilst her husband was serving as an assistant curate here.
Not far from the south-east corner of the chancel you will find the grave of John Page who was foreman of the bricklayers during the nineteenth century restoration.
Many of the other graves have splendid headstones with interesting carvings of ships on those who were seafarers.
In the centre of the southern part of the churchyard is the Millennium yew tree.
THE CHALICE AND PATEN were made in 1567 by Thomas Buttell of Norwich and have the inscription “The Tounshyp of Martham”.
After the reformation, an inventory of 1552 detailing all of the church’s possessions showed that the church had two partly gilded silver chalices. These were to be disposed of, and the money raised by the sale was to be used for the purchase of lead to repair the roof.
THE RECTORY is an extremely ancient house dating from the 16th century and has been altered and extended over many centuries. It was during that century, after the Reformation, when priests were first allowed to marry that the oldest part was built to accommodate a family. Notice the indications of the many alterations, the most extensive of which was in the 1830s when the Reverend George Pearse became the vicar.
THE PARISH RECORDS have now been deposited at the Norfolk Record Office at the Archive Centre at Norwich. The Parish Registers date from 1558 and there are Overseers’ and Churchwardens’ Account Books from the 1740s. Much of the information may be read on microfilm at the Record Office and The Heritage Centre at The Forum, Norwich.
The Norfolk Family History Society has a printed transcript of the registers and a typed list of the memorial inscriptions of Martham Church and Churchyard.
You will also find at the back of Martham Church a list of the identifiable tombstones of those buried in the churchyard with diagrams of the grave locations.
OTHER INFORMATION There are free leaflets at the back of the church giving current information. Please also see the Church website www.martham.churchnorfolk.com
SOURCES OF INFORMATION and further reading.
Dr. Mary Fewster for information on the chalice and paten
Kenneth Penn for interpretation of Domesday Book
The 1861 Census
The Martham Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers
BLOMEFIELD, Francis “AN ESSAY TOWARDS A TOPOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF NORFOLK” Volume 11, 1st Edition.
BRYANT T. Hugh “NORFOLK CHURCHES. EAST AND WEST FLEGG HUNDREDS” Published by Norwich Mercury Office 1899.
CATTERMOLE Paul and COTTON Simon “Martham Church redated – Murphy’s Law at work” NARG NEWS No. 33 June 1893
CLAY R.M. “THE HERMITS AND ANCHORITES OF ENGLAND” Methuen, London 1914
CORNFORD, Barbara “MEDIAEVAL FLEGG: TWO NORFOLK HUNDREDS IN THE MIDDLE AGES: EAST AND WEST FLEGG 1086 – 1500”. The Larks Press 2002
DUFFY, Eamonn “THE STRIPPING OF THE ALTARS” Yale University Press 1992
FAWCETT, Richard “THE ARCHITECTURE AND FURNISHINGS OF NORFOLK CHURCHES” Published by the Norfolk Society 1974
“NORFOLK ARCHAEOLOGY ON MISCELLANEOUS TRACTS RELATING TO THE ANTIQUITIES OF THE COUNTY OF NORFOLK” Published by the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society. WALTERS H.B. Volume 28. 1945. “INVENTORY OF NORFOLK CHURCH GOODS 1552”.
The OXFORD DICTIONARY OF BIOGRAPHY
TRIMBLE, Gary “NORFOLK ARCHAEOLOGICAL UNIT REPORT 447. 1ST May 1999
Copyright ©2010 The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Martham. Text by Chris Harrison and Ann Meakin. Illustrations by Chr Harrison. Reprinted on this website with permission.