St Mary’s Church, Burgh St Peter: like a wedding cake made of brick
Just like the famous student blocks at the University of East Anglia, St Mary’s boasts a ziggurat tower which is thought to have been inspired by buildings seen in Mesopotamia by William Boycott, son of Rector Samual Boycott, who commissioned the creation in 1795. In the early 20th century, wily locals in the south Norfolk village would claim to visitors their church tower was telescopic and was wound up at the start of each sailing season and then wound down again to mark the onset of winter. It is also said that on May 2 each year the devil appears on the porch to reclaim a debt he is owed by one of the church’s founders. Disguised as an old man, anyone foolish enough to look beyond his cloak will see a skeleton breathing fire.
Where is the church located?
The church can be found north of the Waveney River Centre on Burgh Road.
Nestling in the wide bend of the River Waveney, the church is the most south-easterly in Norfolk and has wide views across marsh and farmland. Burgh St Peter and Wheatacre were originally known as Wheatacre Burgh and records show there being two churches – St Peter’s and All Saints. Sometime after mid-C18, they became separate villages and the dedication of this church was changed to St Mary. Several interesting features most notably the Ziggurat tower. The ramp for wheelchair access is only available on 24 hours’ notice. Contact the churchwarden or fabric officer, details of which are displayed on the Diocesan website.
- It’s an active Parish Church with a graveyard so please be respectful when you visit
- Free to enter when doors open
- You do not have to be of a religious denomination to pay a visit. All are Welcome.
- Wheelchair accessible