Church of St Peter and St Paul, Shernborne

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The present church was built in 1898 at the expense of King Edward VII. A late 19C structure incorporating 13C elements. The site itself dates back to the second church founded by St Felix in the 7C. The church had stood as a ruin until 16C. HRH Prince of Wales financed the rebuild as part of the Sandringham Estate.

Church of St Peter and St Paul, Shernborne

This church contains two great treasures from its early history, namely a Norman font, carved by a great stonemason, and brass figures of Sir Thomas Shernborne (1458) and his wife.

An old document, dated 1574, records that "St. Felix landed at Babingly by Lenn (Lynn) and there builded the first church of these countries, which is at this day called by his name. The second is built at Sharnbourne then of wood and therefore called Stock-chappell". This refers to the great time when the Christian gospel was first received by the North-folk and quickly spread to villages throughout East Anglia.

Sir Henry Spelman and other early historians relate that Thoke was lord of this town when Faelix, Bishop of the East Angles, came into this part of his diocese in King Sigebert's time about the year 640.

The church exterior. The great time of Victorian restorations nearly passed without saving Shernborne Church, and then in 1898 H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII, paid for a major reconstruction of the building. He commissioned the Diocesan Architect, H.J. Green, to design the new church with Sir Arthur Blomefield, A.R.A. to act as consultant. The land here is part of the Royal Estate.

The chancel has been in ruins since the reformation; there had been a medieval S aisle which had gone, so this was entirely rebuilt. However, the lower parts of the piers were reused as before and salvaged stones were used wherever possible. The mixture of carrstone and flints gives the building a softer appearance.

The S porch has a doorway which copies the Early English style and above it an empty niche with trefoil headed arch. All the church windows follow the style of the 14th century Decorated period, although obviously Victorian. There are gable crosses wherever possible to signify the glory of the church's worship of Christ. The W end is interesting with a very elaborate tracery design in the Victorian West window. There was a W window in the old church, and the Victorians appreciated light from the back of the church to light up the small print of their hymnbooks. Above this window is an equally elaborate stonework base for the bell turret.

There is a prominent stringcourse about 6 feet above ground level around the chancel, which was a feature of some churches in the Early English period, e.g. Stanhoe and Coston. On the N side of the nave will be found a boiler house below the ground and a fine chimney to go with it. The churchyard has Irish yews and a good flint wall round its perimeter.

The Church Interior. The nave has a nice trussed rafter roof, whilst the chancel has a barrel vault roof with bosses at the intersections.

The bases of the pillars in the S arcade are 13th century Early English, and much of the stonework in the arcades may be original. The walls have all been rebuilt on the old foundations. There is a Victorian entrance arch to the E chapel that houses the organ.

The East window of the chancel has a nice internal arch. Stained glass was added in 1924.

The freestanding bench at the rear of the nave came from the old church. The other oak pews were all renewed in 1919. The pulpit was made in 1898. This alone is worth the visit to this church for here is probably the finest Norman font in the country. It is the best of the famous four by the same crafts-man, (the other three being at Sculthorpe, South Wootton and Toftrees). The carving is exquisite. The bowl is supported by 4 sturdy legs with much carving on the bases and capitals. The bowl is square with gently rounded angles which have shallow carved shafts with bases and capitals. The 4 sides are a mass of intricate interlace work with a plaited band around the top and grotesque animal heads at the bases.

Slide to the right to see how it looked in the past!
Site Information
Opening Times:
Dawn till dusk
Cross Roads, Shernborne, King's Lynn, PE31 6RY, Norfolk
Visitor Information
Stained glass
Nearby Attractions
Attraction 1:
Church of St Mary, Snettisham
1.85 Miles Away
Pevsner called St Mary’s church “the most exciting C14th Decorated church in Norfolk.” St Mary's church with its 175 foot tall tower and spire, sits on high ground above the village, and was often a landmark for mariners navigating The Wash. Someone called it " God's rocket to heaven". The original steeple was erected by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the son of Edward III.
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Attraction 2:
SHARP - Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project
2.41 Miles Away
SHARP (the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project) is a long-term, independently-run archaeological project. The primary objective is the investigation of the entire range of human settlement and land use in the north-west Norfolk parish of Sedgeford. Established in 1996, SHARP is one of the largest independent archaeological projects in Britain and is firmly rooted in the local community.
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Attraction 3:
Sandringham House, Museum and Gardens
2.52 Miles Away
Sandringham is the much-loved country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen, and has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862. The house, set in 24 hectares of stunning gardens, is perhaps the most famous stately home in Norfolk and is at the heart of the 8,000-hectare Sandringham Estate, 240 hectares of which make up the woodland and heath of the Country Park.
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Attraction 4:
Church of St Mary the Virgin Sedgeford
2.56 Miles Away
There has been a church on this site for over 900 years. In 1205 the church was appropriated to Norwich Cathedral Priory. It is during the Priory's period of responsibility that the church was eventually rebuilt from circa 1300. The church is of great architectural significance and is Grade 1 listed having many medieval wall paintings, which we are hoping to stabilise and refurbish.
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Attraction 5:
Bircham Windmill
2.87 Miles Away
The windmill was built in 1846 and worked until the 1920s when the sails were removed and the tower abandoned. It was bought by the current owner in a very dilapidated state. Initially the two adjoining cottages were renovated. The mill is now fully restored and in working order. Visitors can climb to the very top and go out on the fan deck.
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