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Great Yarmouth Minster

Great Yarmouth Minster, the parish church of St. Nicholas, was founded by Herbert de Losinga, the Bishop of Norwich, in 1101 as a penance for an act of simony. It is the largest parish church in the country and arguably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth.

The Minster is usually open to visitors daily, weekdays from 10am to 3pm and on Saturdays 10am to 12 noon. The café inside serves light refreshments when the church is open. The church has a beautiful interior and houses a free heritage exhibition showing its role in the history of Yarmouth. The Minster hosts a number of events, from exhibitions to recitals throughout the year, in addition to regular church services. 

Great Yarmouth Minster

Brief history of the Minster

During the Medieval period the church was at its most magnificent with stained glass, tapestries, painted and gilded walls, frescos, 19 guild chapels, various relics of the saints and ornate furnishings. At this time Great Yarmouth was the fourth richest town in England. The interior was destroyed at the Reformation and the Priory dissolved.

In 1649 the church was divided into three parts as the Puritans, who were now in the ascendancy, demanded use of the building as their church. The arches were bricked up (two feet thickness) on the north side of the nave, the eastern side of the transepts and the eastern side of the tower. The three portions of the church were used by the Anglican Church (south aisle), the Puritans led by Rev. Bridge (the chancel, which they fitted up as a church house) and the Presbyterians (the north aisle).

A new door to the chancel destroyed the altar tomb of Thomas Crowmer, the Bailiff of Yarmouth from 1470-97. The mutilation of this tomb was contrary to the Act of Parliament of 1644, which allowed the demolition of monuments of idolatry and superstition, but not monuments to dead people, unless they were deemed to be saints. The windows in the east end were filled up with bricks. The north aisle was used by the local militia as a drill hall when the weather was wet. All the three denominations held their services simultaneously and the alterations to the church were paid out of a rate levied on the townspeople.

At the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the Puritans were ejected from the church, however the bricked up arches put up by the Independents and the Presbyterians were not taken down until the restoration of 1859-64 when the church became undivided for the first time in about 200 years.

Over time, the church gradually declined, the fabric deteriorated and the chancel collapsed. It was the Victorians who mounted several large and expensive restoration schemes and by 1905 the church had been completely renovated.

In 1942 the church was gutted during a German air raid leaving only the Norman tower and the walls standing.

With the aid of a War Damage Commission grant and fund raising by local people and businesses the church was rebuilt and reconsecrated in 1961 by the Bishop of Norwich. St. Nicholas celebrated the 50th anniversary of its reconsecration in 2011, and was subsequently designated as a Minster in December 2012.

Today the Minster is the focal point of the town from the Market Place, its tall tower a dominant feature on the town's skyline. Many events take place inside the church, known for its superb acoustics, throughout the year, including many services, recitals and the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival.

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Events at the Minster

Churches in Great Yarmouth - not all are open to the public

St Mary's, West Somerton

Great Yarmouth

St Mary's Church in West Somerton, near Great Yarmouth: a 13th century thatched roof church famous for the Medieval wall painting and the tombstone of Robert Hales, the famous Norfolk Giant.

St Spyridon's Greek Orthodox Church

Great Yarmouth

Previously the parish church of Great Yarmouth, this large church building was constructed by Mr. J.J. Scoles in 1831 with the impressive four dial clock added in 1876. The chuch was re-dedicated to the Greek orthodox church in 1963.

St. Peter & St. Paul, Repps

Great Yarmouth

The church of St Peter and St Paul at Repps is an architectural mix of styles. Part of the west wall and the base of the tower are all that remains of an earlier Saxon building. The present round tower, with its octagonal belfry is Norman.

All Saint's, Filby

Great Yarmouth

All Saint's, Filby, is a Medieval church building with 15th century painted rood screen dado. Filby is one of the earliest settlements in the Fleggs and the present church, begun about 1350, stands on the site of the original building.


Great Yarmouth

Christchurch, Great Yarmouth, offers a range of social activities in addition to its religious services. Why not visit the coffee shop or join in one of the regular weekly clubs, the perfect place to meet and make friends.

Holy Trinity, Caister-on-Sea


Holy Trinity Church in Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth: originally a 14th century church, re-built in the 18th century and beyond with an impressive ornate 15th century font which was brought in from Suffolk and some incredible windows.

St Edmund's, Thurne

Great Yarmouth

This lovely thatched church is dedicated to St. Edmund, King of East Anglia and martyred by Danish invaders in 872 AD. It dates back to the 13th century.

St Nicholas, Bradwell

Great Yarmouth

St Nicholas' church in Bradwell near Great Yarmouth was built between 1320 and 1390, and restored in 1875 with Victorian furnishings having been gutted by fire. It has a round tower containing three bells. (Image: St Nicholas, Bradwell).

St. Margaret's, Fleggburgh

Great Yarmouth

One of only 53 thatched churches in Norfolk has been restored and renovated many times. The south doorway dates from the Norman period but the porch, navel and chancel are 14th entury.

St Peter & St Paul, Burgh Castle

Great Yarmouth

St Peter & St Paul in Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth. A small round towered church consisting of nave, chancel and north aisle, 14th century font and some magnificent stained glass windows. (Image: Norfolk Churches).

St Edmund's, Fritton

Great Yarmouth

St Edmund's church in Fritton near Great Yarmouth, a Norman round towered and thatched church featuring an apse, chancel and 14th century nave. With a Victorianised interior and stained glass windows. (Image: Norfolk Churches).

St Mary's Church, Southtown

Great Yarmouth

A daughter church of Great Yarmouth Minster serving the Southtown community of Great Yarmouth. A range of community groups meet in the Church hall.

St Mary the Virgin, Martham

Great Yarmouth

Known by some on account of its size as the 'Cathedral of the Fleggs', St Mary's at Martham dominates the local landscape with a 98 foot tower. The present church was started in 1377, with 15th century glass in the west windows.

St Mary Magdalene's, Gorleston


The church of St Mary Magdalene in Gorleston-on-Sea in the heart of the community is very much alive with a full programme of events for all.

St Andrew's, Stokesby

Great Yarmouth

The present church dates from the 13th century but various Norman mouldings point to there having been an earlier building.

St Peter & St Paul, Mautby

Great Yarmouth

Possibly built as early as the Noman conquest, the church has a thatched roof, round tower with carstone banding and a 15th century font. It is also the burial site of Margaret Paston of the famous 15th century Paston Letters.

St. Andrew's Church, Gorleston


St Andrew's church has many architectural features dating back to the Medieval period. With stained glass windows from the Victorian era and church organ dated 1904. The Bacon Brass dating back to 1292 can be seen in the Lady Chapel.

St Mary's, Hemsby


St Mary's church in Hemsby near Great Yarmouth: a Medieval church and tower dating from the early 14th century, built by the Monks of Norwich Cathedral priory, with Medieval bosses retained in the roof and porch.

St. Peter & St. Paul, Runham

Great Yarmouth

St Peter & St Paul's 15th century church tower with its pinnacles and battlements at Runham is a landmark for river craft between Great Yarmouth and Stokesby.

St Margaret's, Ormesby

Great Yarmouth

St Margaret's Church in Ormesby St Margaret near Great Yarmouth has an impressive south tower dating back to the 15th century. A truly magnificent church with beautiful stained glass windows. (Image: Norfolk Churches).

St Margaret's, Hopton

Great Yarmouth

The new St Margaret's church in Hopton-on-Sea near Great Yarmouth was built in 1865 to replace the Medieval church which had burnt down. The ruins of the old church are still to be seen on Coast Road.

Great Yarmouth Minster

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Minster was founded in 1101 by Herbert de Losinga (Bishop of Norwich), as a penance for an act of simony. It is the largest parish church in the country and arguably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth.

The Salvation Army

Great Yarmouth

The Salvation Army, Great Yarmouth, is a Christian church set in the heart of the Town Centre, serving the spiritual and practical needs of the surrounding community. Regular groups are held and a coffee morning takes place every Thursday.

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