Round Tower Churches Society

cropped-Little-Snoring-S-Knott.jpg  RTCS logo                        


Little Snoring church Photo by Simon Knott                                     

HaddiscoeChurches with round towers are unusual: they are found mostly in East Anglia. The Round Tower Churches Society (RTCS) was established in 1973 to help preserve these churches and to explore their origins and history. In its 40 years the Society has made grants of over £150,000 enabling us to support many of the English round tower churches.

Support the Society and enable us to continue to provide grants for these churches. Join yourself or give a year’s membership to a friend- go to Society. For information about recent grants and work in churches visit Grants. 

The Society publishes a quarterly magazine, organises visits to round tower churches in the summer months and sets up occasional study days.

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Matlaske The last Round Tower Church tour of 2017 season was on 2nd September 2017.  For information about 2017 tours see tours and events page.  Information about 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016 Tours is in Archive 

Matlaske visited in August 2017

Information about 2018 tours will be circulated to members in March 2018.

St Andrew, East Lexham. Photo taken by Simon Knott

St Andrew, East Lexham. Photo taken by Simon Knott


The Round Tower. This is the Society’s quarterly Magazine. Copies are available on line a year after they are published. Copies of The Round Tower for Dec 2007, and from 2008 to 2016 are available to download. Go to The Round Tower    

The Round Tower December 2016 is now available on line. It includes an article  on Collioure: a Mediterranean round-towered church by Clare Gallaway, a report on RTCS Study Day, October 2016 and Summer Tours 2016, part 2 by Stuart Bowell as well as correspondence. Go to The Round Tower 

Hales by Simon KnottStephen Hart, a leading authority on round tower churches, long time member and supporter of the Society and author of several books on church architecture died in 2014. For RTCS obituary and information go to Society News. Some of Stephen’s analyses are being uploaded onto the website see Listing Round Tower Churches. They include: Beachamwell, Beeston St Lawrence, Bexwell, East Lexham, Fishley, Fritton St Edmunds, Gayton Thorpe, Haddiscoe, Heckingham, Herringfleet, Morningthorpe, Potter Heigham, Thorpe next Haddiscoe, Welborne and many more ……. including Hales, above, a favourite with many people. 

Privacy policy. The Society has updated its privacy policy in line with General Data Protection Regulations (aka GDPR) due to apply from May 2018. For more information see The Round Tower for March 2018 or go to RTCS Privacy Policy.

Raise the Alarm Campaign.


The Roof Alarm Scheme was set up in August 2017. Over £250,000 has been allocated to install alarms in churches considered to be particularly vulnerable. The money has been raised from Norfolk Churches Trust, Allchurches Trust and the Round Tower Churches Society working together with the Bishop of Norwich and Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.

Roy Tricker. 
Congratulations to Roy Tricker on being awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Heritage in Suffolk. Roy is the author of a recent book Anglicans on High and countless excellent church guidebooks. He will also be well known to those who attended RTCS study days for his talks, which manage to combine learning and humour.




News of some churches.

Herringfleet church is looking for funds for urgent repairs: these include rethatching the nave and porch, removing the external cement render and replacing it with lime render, work to masonry and glass of the east chancel window, as well to the electrical heating and lighting systems. The wonderful east window has been removed to prevent further damage from the winter weather.



Thwaite before theft Merton missing lead RTCS at Intwood  

Thwaite (left) and Merton (middle) had lead stolen from their roofs. RTCS were able to assist with replacement and repairs to the lead at Intwood (right).

In 2016-2017 RTCS paid out five grants totalling £4450 and have outstanding promises of over £8000 to churches where work has yet to start. The churches assisted this year were: Topcroft. £1500 to help resolve a damp problem at the base of the tower; West Dereham. £200 to help rewire the church; Lamarsh. £2000 to help with the removal of old plaster and then to replaster large parts of the tower; Intwood. £250 to help with the refixing of lead flashing to the roof; Gissing. £500 to help with major structural repairs to the vestry and to update the electric and to install heating.

Liz Barrett has sent us a great photo of Gissing (left)- when was it taken? And what were the children doing outside the church? Right- Gissing in the snow.

Lamarsh in Essex (left) and the scaffolding has been removed at East Lexham (centre- great photograph by Jeremy Whigham). At West Lexham (right) render removed from the tower shows the stonework around an early window.

LaMarsh Essex  Lexham after repairs by Jeremy Whigham  

Many thanks to Clippesby who donated a drawing of the church (left) in thanks for our support for their repairs. Vandalism at Shrimpling (centre): For a report

Clippesby drawing      RTCS at Shrimpling   

Threxton have been awarded funding for the development stage of their repair project. RTCS are helping them with a grant.


For more information about grants and work in churches go to Grants

Photos from the archives.

Three photos sent to RTCS recently- the first of John Sell Cotman’s graphite and wash sketch of Aylmerton (early 1800’s) and two paintings of Haddiscoe by Sir John Arnesby Brown (1866 – 1955). The artist lived at Haddiscoe and is buried in the churchyard.

Aymerton by Cotman  Haddiscoe 1 by Arnesby Brown  Haddiscoe 2 by Arnesby Brown

Gisleham Hardwicke Knight 1923  

Gisleham church. This photo of Holy Trinity, Gisleham was taken around 1953 by Hardwicke Knight, a famous NZ photographer. Thanks to Dave Murray who lives in NZ. He scanned it from a Kodachrome slide in his collection and placed it on the Round Tower Churches Facebook page.

HaveringlandHaveringland church, next to Swannington airfield. The plane is a mosquito. The base of the church has been painted white. For more photos and information go to:


Sedgeford with scaffoldingInteresting publications

Digging Sedgeford: A people’s archaeology has a fascinating chapter about St Mary’s Sedgeford and another – power and piety in Medieval Sedgeford – which considers the evidence for an earlier Saxon church with burials discovered as part of the excavations. Digging Sedgeford is written by the SHARP Team and published by Poppyland Publishing.

Shire Books have recently reprinted: Medieval Church and Churchyard Monuments by Sally Badham. Sally starts her book with the words ‘Churches contain much of the most interesting medieval sculpture in Britain’. The book is a delight with great photos.

Mike Page and Pauline Young have just published ‘More Norfolk Churches from the Air’. This fine collection includes Bessingham, Bradwell and many more Round Tower Churches. All profits from the sale of the book go to cancer charities.

For a great map and information about round tower churches and other religious sites try:

Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales. Registered charity No 267996