about the church

St Mary’s as a church.

Sunday services are a mix of Common Worship and Prayer Book. We aim to be a friendly, welcoming church and are always glad to see new faces. There is a strong musical tradition and we sing from A & M (Revised), Mission Praise and Hundred Hymns for Today.

The Friends of St Mary’s Church Hellesdon is a registered charity actively engaged in raising funds for the maintenance and enhancement of the church fabric. Planning permission has been received for a proposed extension to the church, which will see the addition of toilets, a kitchen, a meeting room and storage space. The Friends organises fund-raising events and is always glad to welcome new members.

St Mary’s the church building.

In its current form, St Mary’s can seat about 110 people. It is built of flint and stone and has a lead covered bell turret with a small spire. A ‘church without land’ is recorded in the Domesday entry for Hellesdon. The walls of the chancel and nave are thought to be the remains of that church, having been dated to about 1040.

While the people of Hoxne in Suffolk may disagree, it is possible to speculate that the Saxon church may mark the spot where King Edmund was interred in 869 before his removal to Bury St Edmunds in 880. This is recorded by Abbo of Fleury, who wrote an account of St Edmund’s passion in about 985.

The church underwent extensive alterations in the second half of the 14th century, seeing the addition of the North aisle, chantry (now the vestry) and the South porch. The Saxon windows were filled in and replaced by new ones in the Perpendicular style. The font dates from this time and is octagonal with quatrefoil tracery. The bell was made by William of Norwich and dates from the same period. It is still in good, ringable condition. The church has two good brasses, one of Richard de Heylsdone and his wife Beatrice (about1370), the other of rector Richard de Thaseburghe (about1389), who is shown in his priest’s vestments. In the mid 1800s, the church was refurbished, the pews and current tiled floor added and repairs carried out to the windows. The organ was installed in 1949 and continues to accompany services on Sundays.

(The historical information on St Mary’s comes from ‘A History of Hellesdon Village’ by Kenneth Hipper, whose permission to use the book as a source is acknowledged with thanks.)