A C15 and earlier tower, being the standing remains of the church of St. Mary.
Reasons for Designation
The C15 tower of St Mary's church, Market Lane, Great Melton, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
Architectural Interest: its fabric dates to the C15 and earlier
Historic Interest: its continued survival is an important feature of the medieval churchyard landscape which reflects the history of this early medieval settlement
Intactness: the three stages of the C15 tower are little altered
Group Value: the tower has historical and architectural group value with the adjacent Church of All Saints, the ornate Lodge to Great Melton Hall, dated to 1818, and the remains of the early C17 Great Melton Hall, all listed at Grade II
The village of Great Melton in South Norfolk was divided into two distinct parishes, St. Mary's and All Saints. Although the churches are next to each other, each served a different manor historically until they were consolidated in the early C18. In approximately 1710, after an Act of Parliament, All Saints church was abandoned and the congregation worshipped at St Mary's until this church, too, became dilapidated. In 1882, the decision was made to restore All Saints at a cost of approximately £1,000, and to abandon St Mary's.
The Ordnance Survey map of 1882 indicates that St Mary's had a butressed nave, a south porch and a west tower. The nave and porch were demolished or fell down shortly after the church was abandoned. Little is known about the main body of the church, but the roof scars on the east elevation of the tower suggest that an early phase may have had a thatched roof. A single round headed window on the east elevation is likely to pre-date the C15. St Mary's church tower was listed at Grade II in November 1959.
The remaining tower of the demolished Church of St Mary, dating to the C15 and incorporating earlier fabric.
MATERIALS: knapped flint with stone dressings and Roman or early medieval brick.
EXTERIOR: an unbuttressed, roofless western tower is the only remaining part of the Church of St Mary. The tower has three stages demarcated by chamfered string courses and is constructed of flint with stone quoins and brick and stone dressings. The third stage (belfry) has two-light cusped bell openings with hood-moulds with carved label stops on each elevation. The three-centred tower arch on the east elevation has two chamfered orders in Roman or early medieval brick (probably reused) with a single, round-headed window above also with an early brick surround. The scars of two roof lines are apparent. The lower stage window opening on the west elevation has been partly destroyed, but a single lancet remains at the second stage.