The Friends just love St Mary’s church as it is one of the most imposing and notable of over 650 Medieval churches in Norfolk. Situated on rising ground behind the village, it is built of flint with freestone dressings believed to have come from Barnack, near Peterborough, or possibly from Caen in Normandy. It was erected in about 1340 on the site of a Norman church (no evidence of which remains) and the windows contain beautiful tracery of that period.
Snettisham was a place of some importance in Medieval times which explains why this church is a large one but originally it was much bigger and of cruciform shape. The spire, one of the few in Norfolk, is 175 ft high with attractive flying buttresses. It is second to the spire of Norwich Cathedral, which is 315 ft high. A conspicuous landmark, it is also a seamark for vessels in the Wash. It was partly blown down by a gale in 1895 and rebuilt.
The beautifully painted Medieval pulpit, a Tudor brass lectern, a 12th century bell, brass memorial plaques and an impressive three arched porch are among some of the significant features of this remarkable church that we wish to maintain intact for future generations. Do come and see for yourself!
The church is the only building in the village which has a permanent exhibition tracing the history of Snettisham and the surrounding areas.
The displays organised by Snettisham Heritage have been a huge success as visitors from all over the world are fascinated by the history of both the church and the village. The original village surrounded the church, but the Black Death destroyed that community and the new village was built further towards the coast.
As well as funding the Snettisham Heritage displays, The Friends have renovated the beautiful stained-glass window that graces the entrance to the church. Funding presently is targeted towards a large project. Over the next few months we shall be announcing plans to make the church more “user friendly” to 21st century demands and to also build a hospitality unit, children’s area and further expand the Heritage displays.