Churches with Round Towers.

Round-tower churches are a type of church found mainly in England, mostly in East Anglia; of about 185 surviving examples in the country, 123 are in Norfolk, 38 in Suffolk, six in Essex, three in Sussex and two each in Cambridgeshire and Berkshire. There is evidence of about 20 round-tower churches in Germany, of similar design and construction to those in East Anglia. Countries with at least one round-tower church include: Andorra, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Poland and South Africa.

About 181 round tower churches, including visible remnants of fallen towers, as well as others that are known about from historical records. Norfolk with 126,/ 42 in Suffolk,/ 6 in Essex and 2 in Cambridgeshire. Elsewhere there are 3 in Sussex and 2 in Berkshire.

The distinctive feature of these churches is their round towers. The reason for their construction – mostly by the Anglo-Saxons – is a matter of dispute. Suggested explanations include the following:

  • Round-tower churches are found in areas lacking normal building stone, and are therefore built of knapped flint. Corners are difficult to construct in flint, hence the thick, round walls of the towers.
  • The churches are found in areas subject to raids from, for example, the Vikings, and were built as defensive structures, churches being added later. In fact, however, the towers are generally too short to have been of much use defensively, and the towers were often added to existing churches, having flat walls where they joined the main structure.
  • In 937 King Athelstan(924–939), the first King of all England, decrees that a bell tower be built on the land of every thane; an existing trend of building bell towers on to existing churches was thus accelerated.

Many other (less likely) explanations are offered in communities containing the churches, including appeals to ancient stone circles and the remains of wells.

Round-tower churches should not be confused with similarly shaped structures such as the Irish round towers found in Ireland and Scotland, or with round towers, which have a circular plan and are often found in Denmark or Sweden. Marked in red is where I have been so far!

  1. Acle, Saint Edmund, Acle
  2. Ashmanhaugh, Saint Swithin,
  3. Aslacton, Saint Michael, Aslacton
  4. Aylmerton, Saint John the Baptist, Aymerton
  5. Barmer, All Saints, Barmer
  6. Bawburgh, Saint Mary and Saint Walstan, Bawburgh
  7. Beachamwell, Saint Mary, Beachamwell
  8. Bedingham, Saint Mary,  Bedingham
  9. Beeston, Saint Lawrence, Beeston
  10. Belton, All Saints,
  11. Bessingham, Saint Andrew, Bessingham
  12. Bexwell, Saint Mary, Bexwell
  13. Bradwell, Saint Nicholas,
  14. Brampton, Saint Peter, Brampton
  15. Brandiston, Saint Nicholas. Brandiston
  16. Breckles, Saint Margaret, Breckles
  17. Brooke, Saint Peter, Brooke
  18. Burgh Castle, Saint Peter and Saint Paul,
  19. Burnham Deepdale, Saint Mary, Burnham Market
  20. Burnham Norton, Saint Margaret. Burnham Norton
  21. Bylaugh, Saint Mary. Bylaugh
  22. Clippersby, Saint Peter.
  23. Cockley Cley, All Saints. Cockley Cley
  24. Colney, Saint Andrews. Colney
  25. Cranwich, Saint Mary. Cranwich
  26. Croxton, All Saints. Croxton
  27. Denton, Saint Mary. Denton
  28. Dilham, Saint Nicholas. Dilham
  29. East Lexham, Saint Andrew. East Lexham
  30. East Walton, Saint Mary.
  31. Eccles, Saint Mary. Eccles
  32. Edingthorpe, All Saints. Edingthorpe
  33. Feltwell, Saint Nicholas. Feltwell
  34. Fishley, Saint Mary. Fishley
  35. Forncett, Saint Peter. Forncett Saint Peter
  36. Framingham, Earl Saint Andrew.
  37. Freethorpe, All Saints. Freethorpe
  38. Fritton, Saint Edmund, Fritton
  39. Fritton, Saint Catherine, Fritton
  40. Gayton Thorpe, Saint Mary. Gayton Thorpe
  41. Geldeston, Saint Michael.
  42. Gissing Saint Mary. Gissing
  43. Great Hautbois, Saint Mary. Great Hautbois
  44. Great Ryburgh, Saint Andrew. Great Ryburgh
  45. Gresham, All Saints. Gresham
  46. Haddiscoe, Saint Mary. Haddiscoe
  47. Hales, Saint Margaret. Hales
  48. Hardley, Saint Margaret. Hardley
  49. Hardwick, Saint Margaret.  Hardwick
  50. Hassingham, Saint Mary. Hassingham
  51. Haveringland, Saint Peter.
  52. Heckingham, Saint Gregory. Hecklingham
  53. Hellington, Saint John the Baptist. Hellington
  54. Hemblington, All Saints.
  55. Horsey, All Saints.
  56. Howe, Saint Mary. Howe
  57. Ingworth, Saint Lawrence. Ingworth
  58. Keswick, All Saints. Keswick
  59. Kilverstone, Saint Andrew. Kilverstone
  60. Kirby Cane, All Saints.
  61. Letheringsett, Saint Andrew. Letheringsett
  62. Little Plumstead, Saint Portase and Saint Gervase. Little Plumstead
  63. Little Snoring, Saint Andrew. Little Snoring
  64. Long Stratton, Saint Mary.  Long Stratton
  65. Matlaske, Saint Peter. Matlaske
  66. Mautby, Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
  67. Merton, Saint Peter. Merton
  68. Morningthorpe, Saint John the Baptist. Morningthorpe
  69. Morton on the Hill, Saint Margaret's. Morton on the Hill
  70. Moulton, Saint Mary.  Moulton
  71. Needham Saint Peter, Norwich, Saint Benedict Tower). Needham
  72. Norwich, Saint Etheldreda.
  73. Norwich, Saint Julian,
  74. Norwich, Saint Mary at Coslany,
  75. Norton Subcoarse, Saint Mary. Norton Subcoarse
  76. Old Catton, Saint Margaret.
  77. Poringland, All Saints. Poringland
  78. Potter Heigham, Saint Nicholas.
  79. Quidenham, Saint Andrew. Quidenham
  80. Raveningham, Saint Andrews. Raveningham
  81. Repps-with-Bastwick, Saint Peter.
  82. Rockland, Saint Peter. Rockland
  83. Rollesby, Saint George.
  84. Roughton, Saint Mary. Roughton
  85. Roydon, Saint Remigus. Roydon
  86. Runhall, All Saints. Runhall
  87. Rushall, Saint Mary's. Rushall
  88. Sedgeford, Saint Mary. Sedgeford
  89. Seething, Saint Margaret.  Seething
  90. Shereford, Saint Nicholas. Sheresford
  91. Shimpling, Saint George. Shimpling
  92. Sidestrand, Saint Michael. Sidestrand
  93. South Pickenham, All Saints. South Pickenham
  94. Stanford, All Saints.
  95. Stockton, Saint Michael.
  96. Stody, Saint Mary. Stody
  97. Surlingham, Saint Mary.  Surlingham
  98. Sustead, Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Sustead
  99. Swainsthorpe, Saint Peter. Swainsthorpe
  100. Syderstone, Saint Mary. Syderstone
  101. Tasburgh, Saint Mary. Tasburgh
  102. Taverham, Saint Edmund.
  103. Thorpe Abbots, All Saints. Thorpe Abbots
  104. Thorpe next Haddicoe, Saint Matthias. Thorpe next Haddicoe
  105. Thorpe Parva, Saint Mary's Ruin.
  106. Threxton, All Saints. Threxton
  107. Thwaite, All Saints. Thwaite
  108. Titchwell, Saint Mary. Titchwell
  109. Topcroft, Saint Margaret.  Topcroft
  110. Tuttington, Saint Peter and Paul. Tuttington
  111. Wacton, All Saints. Wacton
  112. Watton, Saint Mary. Watton
  113. Weeting, Saint Mary. Weeting
  114. Welborne, All Saints, Welbourne
  115. West Dereham, St Andrew. West Dereham
  116. West Lexham. Saint Nicholas. West Lexham
  117. West Somerton, Saint Mary.
  118. Whittingham, Saint Andrew, (Tower collapsed)
  119. Wickmere, Saint Andrew. Wickmere
  120. Witton, Saint Margaret. Witton
  121. Woodton, All Saints. Woodton
  122. Worthing, Saint Margaret.
  123. Wramplingham, Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Wramplingham
  124. Yaxham, Saint Peter. Yaxham

For further information you could try the Round Tower Churches Society. Or @RTCSociety on Twitter.

The Round Tower Churches Society was founded by W.J. Goode in 1973, it now has The H.R.H. Prince of Wales as its patron.

Monies can be paid, and membership gained by contacting RTCS cheques to The Round Tower Churches Society: RTCS, Membership Secretary, Fir Tree Cottage, Witnesham Ipswich. IP6-9EX

More details www.roundtowers.org.uk

Twitter or Facebook. Registered Charity No 267996. Reg Office:Crabbe Hall Burnham Market, King's Lynn, PE31-8EN

Churches with Round Towers.
Barmer All Saints Church. (5)
Churches with Round Towers.
Croxton All Saints Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Watton All Saints Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Burnham Deepdale Saint Mary's Church
Churches with Round Towers.
Great Ryburgh Saint Andrew's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Little Snoring Saint Andrew's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
West Lexham, Saint Nicholas, Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Runhall All Saints Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Beeston Saint Lawrence Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Merton, Saint Peter.
Churches with Round Towers.
Breckles Saint Margaret's Church. (16)
Churches with Round Towers.
Kilverstone Saint Andrew's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Beachamwell Saint Mary's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Burnham Saint Margaret's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
East Lexham Saint Andrew's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
North Pickenham All Saint's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Titchwell Saint Mary's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Bawburgh, Saint Mary & Walstans Church
Churches with Round Towers.
Bexwell St Mary.
Churches with Round Towers.
Yaxham Church
Churches with Round Towers.
Bylaugh Saint Mary's Church (21)
Churches with Round Towers.
Threxton All Saints Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Taverham Saint Edmund's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Cranwich Saint Mary's Church
Churches with Round Towers.
Cockley Cley All Saint's Church.
Churches with Round Towers.
Sheresford Saint Nicholas Church
Churches with Round Towers.
Shouldham Thorpe.
Churches with Round Towers.
Eccles Saint Mary's Church
Churches with Round Towers.
Letheringsett, Saint Andrew's Church.