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Visiting St. Andrew's Church, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk, England: Remarkable, Partly 14th Century Stone Structure

Updated on August 9, 2018
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
St Andrew's Parish Church, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk, seen from the east
St Andrew's Parish Church, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk, seen from the east | Source

With a 27.4 metre flint tower overlooking...which Sea?

Parts of this striking, stone parish church in Gorleston-on-Sea date from the 14th century, particularly at the nave. However, some of rubble in the foundations is reckoned to date from the 10th century; and some record exists of a 7th century structure made of wood at the site of the current structure (1).

The building was extensively refurbished in the 19th century.

The tower, executed in flint, has 127 steps and rises to 27.4 metres. In its time, the tower, which is clearly visible from the sea (2), was used as a watchtower. In the tower, some 17th century bells were replaced with a set of six bells in the 19th century, increased to eight in 1937.

A particularly noteworthy feature of St. Andrew's Parish Church is its triple nave: a typical characteristic of many Flemish churches found both in East Anglia and the Continent of Europe.

An octagonal Chapter House dates from 1970.

In the British Museum, London there exists a 14th century illuminated Psalter known as the Gorleston Psalter (3).

Records show that during the 17th century Commonwealth period Parliament commissioned the dismantling of considerable amounts of religious art and artifacts held in the building; this followed the Reformation's emphasis on the simplicity of worship according to a strictly New Testament pattern.

The Anglican Parish Church of St. Andrew is situated at the aptly named Church Road in Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk, England.

August 9, 2018


(1) See also:

(2) At Gorleston-on-Sea, the sea in question is the North Sea. Several kilometres south of Gorleston-on-Sea is the Blyth Estuary, where US naval aviator Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. — elder brother to the future US President — was killed in 1944. For some reason, in some literature his death is described as having been 'somewhere over the English Channel'; this is actually inaccurate, because the English Channel does not properly begin until Kent, westward; whereas East Anglia, where Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are situated, has a long North Sea coastline, and is actually nowhere near the English Channel. A possible reason for this reported geographical discrepancy may be the secretive nature of the work in which Joseph Kennedy was engaged when he met with his tragic accident.

(3) British Museum Illuminated Manuscript Gallery exhibit 49622.

Also worth seeing

Great Yarmouth, of which Gorleston-on-Sea forms a part, has various, distinguished buildings of interest to the visitor, a few of these being: North-West Tower; St Nicholas's Church; the Anna Sewell House; the Britannia Monument, and others. In Gorleston-on-Sea, the Range Rear Lighthouse is a prominent landmark dating from 1878.

Burgh Castle (distance: approx. 7 kilometres), a structure which dates from the Roman era.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Great Yarmouth is served by rail from London Liverpool Street Station. The town is 265 kilometers from Heathrow Airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Map location of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk | Source


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    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      18 months ago

      Liz Westwood: Yes, there are some interesting connections. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      18 months ago from UK

      This is an interesting article. Joseph P. Kennedy is mentioned at the American cemetery, Madingley near Cambridge.


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