St Augustine's Church, Norwich
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 17th century tower of brick, Matthew Brettingham monument
That is especially true of the northern edge of the city centre. Just beyond the ring road (A147) is the medieval church of St Augustine. Now redundant and managed by the Churches Conservation Trust, St Augustine's dates to at least the 12th century, though the most striking external feature is a 17th century tower of red brick.
This is the only church in Norfolk dedicated to Augustine, but which Augustine is it dedicated to - Augustine of Canterbury or Augustine of Hippo? We do know that in the 12th century the priests came from a group of Augustinian friars, who follow the rule laid down by Augustine of Hippo, so that dedication seems most likely. Despite this, an Edwardian window in the north chancel aisle has stained glass depicting Augustine of Canterbury, along with St Felix of Dunwich. Wishful thinking?
Well, that's a bit of a mystery. There was no mention of a church dedicated to Augustine in the Domesday Book, but the square shape of the nave sugests a Saxon layout. The earliest written record of a church here comes from 1163, when Augustinian friars from Gloucester were assigned to the church.
Much of the church we see today, except for the tower, dates from a 15th century rebuilding, though like many churches St Augustines was restored in the Victorian period.
Abigail was inducted into the army in his late teens. He could not stand up to the conditions of trench warfare and deserted. He was captured, and shot for cowardice, the fate reserved for deserters at that time. By the rules of the time his name should not appear among those of his fallen comrades, but there it is, appearing alphabetically at the top of the list.
One of the most interesting features is a monument to architect Matthew Bressingham, who was responsible for the stately home of Holkham Hall. Bresingham was born in Norwich, the son of a mason. He apprenticed as a bricklayer to his father, but rose to be appointed clerk of the works at Holkham in 1734. His work at Holkham launched a career that brought him commissions from around East Anglia. Local projects include Lenwade Bridge, the shire hall at Norwich Castle, and renovation work on Norwich Cathedral. He often worked in a very plain Palladian style, but his genius was his ability to adapt and carry out ideas laid out by more talented architects. The monument is fairly plain, with an inscription recording his 'liberal spirit and great benevolence of mind.'
The church is usually locked, but the keyholder is a shop just across the road. We arrived very late in the day, just 15 minutes before the shop closed. They were reluctant to give out the key, but we assured them we'd return it before the shop shut for the day. You never saw such a whirlwind visit to an historic church! We sped through the building, I photographed everything in sight, and we were back with key, somewhat breathless, one minute before the shop shut. As a relaxing experience I can't really recommend this approach, but it did make the visit memorable! As an aside, don't miss the row of almshouses just beside the churchyard.
About St Augustine's
Address: St Augustine's Street, Norwich, Norfolk, England, NR3 3BY
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On the west side of St Augustine's Street, 1 block north of the A147 on the north side of Norwich. 20 minutes walk from the city centre. Church is locked but the keyholder is just across the road.
Website: St Augustine's
Churches Conservation Trust
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
The Octagon Chapel - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
The Old Meeting House - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
Norwich, St George Colegate - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
Norwich, St Laurence Church - 0.4 miles (Historic Church)
The Halls - 0.4 miles (Historic Church)
Strangers Hall - 0.5 miles (Museum)
Hungate Medieval Art - 0.5 miles (Museum)
Augustine Steward's House - 0.5 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to St Augustine's: