Church History

The first record of Horsford is its entry in the Doomsday Book of 1086.

The present church was begun at the beginning of the 12th century, being constructed of flint and freestone. the styles of architecture are mainly Early English with later additions. Like many Norfolk churches it has been repaired, extended and altered over the years, so it is difficult now to say how it might have looked originally.

The nave was started soon after 1100, being made of well-coursed flintwork. From the outside can be seen, particularly at the east end of the nave, low down in the south wall, a number of courses of regularly banded unknapped flints. This is evidence of a building technique commonly used in the 11th and 12th centuries. Outside, on the south wall, the height of the original Norman nave is indicated by a line of knapped flints just below the later brick and flint courses. The pitch and height of the roof probably matched that of the chancel.

The tower was not begun until 1456 and it was probably a long and interrupted project, rather than a complete construction followed by repairs. Construction of the tower may have coincided with the alteration to the roof height of the nave. There was an appeal for funds in 1493 and the tower was ready for bells to be hung in 1506, when there is record of a bequest for the provision of a bell. One bell remains, inscribed "Anno Domini 1565" which is still able to be rung. Unusually for a tower of this date, there is no external door at the west side. Through the vestry at the base of the tower, toilet facilities have quite recently been installed.

The north aisle existed or was built around 1458, for it is mentioned as having been provided with donations for its construction in wills of that year. Drastic remedial work had to be carried out in the 1860's because the aisle wall and pillars were leaning outwards. The east window of the aisle contains the only medieval glass in the church. In 1986/7 the window was reglazed, with addition of the medieval glass, and dedicated as a memorial to Harry Sole by his widow, Rosetta.

The chancel was probably built at the same time as the nave. There is still a hint of a curve in the sanctuary area whch may be the remnants of a pre-Norman early 11th century apse. Outside, repairs had been carried out in 1703 to the east gable, this date is marked on the outside of the gable end wall. Inside, the position of main altar in the sancutuary was changed in 1956. the original altar table was placed at the east end of the north aisle creating the Lady Chapel. A new main altar was created by Harry Sole, a highly skilled joiner and churchwarden. A new oak pulpit was made in 1958.

The screen between the chancel and the nave dates from the late 15th century and was formerly vaulted on both sides.

The organ gallery was buit in 1993 to house an organ acquired from Horsham St. Faith. The previous organ had been at the east end of the north aisle until 1956 when the lady chapel was created and the organ moved to the west end of the aisle. This is currently the kitchen/ refreshments area.

Memorials in place around the church mainly commemorate the Barrett-Lennard and Day families. The Barrett-Lennards arrived at the Time of the Norman conquest in 1066; Sir Richard Barrett-Lennard being the last of the line. The Day family lived in Horsford Hall, opposite the church; Apparently it was remains of members of the Day family that were discovered in a vault under the floor during the renovations of the mid-1950's.

(Parish Registers dating from 1591 are held in the Norfolk Record Office).