Church of St Theobald


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Church of St Theobald, Great Hautbois Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 7JW


Ordnance survey map of Church of St Theobald
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Statutory Address:
Church of St Theobald, Great Hautbois Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 7JW

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Broadland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Church dating to the C11 with later medieval additions, ruinated in the C19.

Reasons for Designation

The Church of St Theobald, dating to the C11 with later medieval additions, ruinated in the C19, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it evolved over four centuries, thereby constituting an important architectural expression of medieval liturgical developments;

* despite its ruinous state, a significant proportion of its original fabric survives, notably the nave, chancel, round tower and south aisle;

* the surviving fabric shows the layout of the principal elements of the church and provides valuable evidence of medieval masonry and craftsmanship.


The Church of St Theobald probably originated in the second half of the C11. It presided over the former village and the pre-Reformation activity around the image of St Theobald which was a popular pilgrimage destination. It had an attendant hospital for pilgrims founded in about 1235 by Sir Peter De Alto Bosco who possessed half the manor of Great Hautbois. The other half of the manor belonged to the Abbots of St Benet’s Abbey and was held by the Bainard family. In 1312 Sir Robert Bainard built Hautbois Castle, the (unscheduled) moat of which is situated to the south of the church. A map of 1671 shows the castle still standing, the church, and the village to the west of the church.

The church originally consisted of an aisleless nave with a small apsidal or square-ended chancel. Soon after construction, a round tower was added to the west wall which involved blocking the west window and creating a narrow tower arch. This has since been reduced in size to contain a doorway. The first major alteration to the Norman church was the lengthening of the chancel and the addition of a transept. This probably took place during the early C13 and may have been associated with the miraculous image of St Theobald. The archway between the chancel and transept has since been blocked. During the C14 an aisle was added to the south side on the alignment of the transept and the south wall of the nave was probably pierced to create the two-bay arcade. The south transept became the east end of the aisle. The porch was probably added in the C15.

A lithograph of the 1820s by Ladbrooke shows that the south aisle had a very shallow roof and the nave roof was covered in lead. The chancel had a slate-clad roof and a small buttress which has since been rebuilt in a larger form. The king post roof of the chancel probably dates from around this time or slightly earlier. In the second half of the C19 there were plans for the restoration and re-seating of the church but by 1862 these plans had been superseded by a commission to build a new church in the village. This was designed by Thomas Jekyll and contains the font from the old church. The old church was ruinated except for the chancel which was converted into a mortuary chapel as the graveyard continued to be in use.


Church dating to the C11 with later medieval additions, ruinated in the C19.

MATERIALS: flint, both knapped and rubble, with dressings of ferruginous conglomerate and reused Roman brick in the voussoirs. The chancel roof is clad in pantiles.

PLAN: the church consists of a nave with C11 north and west walls, an C11 chancel extended probably in the C13, a C12 round west tower, a C14 south aisle, and a porch probably dating to the C15.

EXTERIOR: the round west tower has a distinct batter and four, single-light belfry openings with rough semi-circular arches of flint rubble. On the west side of the lower floors there are two loops, one of which has an arched lintel. On the east side of the tower is the former west window of the nave (later blocked) with brick voussoirs and double splayed reveals. The narrow tower arch subsequently created has been reduced in size and contains an arched doorway with reused brick in the jambs and a vertical plank door.

The roofless two-bay nave has large conglomerate quoins and, on the north side, a large shallow-arched window opening followed by a door with stone quoins and C16 brick voussoirs. On the west wall a fragment of early C13 dogtooth moulding has been incorporated into the masonry and may have been part of the St Theobald shrine. The roofless south aisle is almost as wide as the nave. Its two-bay arcade has an octagonal central pier with similar responds, all with moulded bell capitals, and arches of two chamfered orders, the inner one of moulded brick. The aisle has two simple lancet windows with internal dressings of medieval brick. On the left of the south door is the remains of the holy water stoup which incorporates Roman brick.

The roofless south porch of knapped flint has an arched doorway with attached circular shafts and re-set decayed label stops. The one-light east and west windows have cusped heads. The chancel was walled off from the nave in the 1860s and incorporates a re-set stone, arch opening. It has conglomerate buttresses at each end of the east wall, and two C19 flint and brick buttresses with one off-set on the north and south walls. The east wall is pierced by a C19 three-light Perpendicular-style window which has a relieving brick arch above. There is a C13 single lancet on the south wall and a blocked lancet on the north wall.

INTERIOR: the chancel has whitewashed walls and a king post roof with raking struts, soulaces and butt purlins.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Wilson, B, The Buildings of England: Norfolk: 1 Norwich and North-East, (2002)
Stephen Heywood, The Church of St Theobald and St Mary, Great Hautbois (March 2013)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 29 Aug 2005
Reference: IOE01/13795/27
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr David Edleston. Source Historic England Archive
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