“ St Mary the Virgin is a small Grade I listed Norman church which replaced a Saxon church just after the Domesday survey of Suffolk. We are opening our doors to the filming community to try to help boost our conservation budget to preserve our peaceful little church. ”

The Church Wardens

Architectural History

According to the "Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture", building of this church began circa 1120-1140, but possibly earlier. The stone pillars of the north and south Nave doors are unique to this period. Also on the south wall of the Nave is a small recess in which scraps of wall painting have survived, which date to circa 1200. Hence the Nave was completed by about 1200. Other parts of the building were added in later medieval centuries. Only the Tower can be accurately dated, because benefactors in their wills of 1460-1500 left goods to pay for its building. Signs remain of a small Chapel built onto the Nave north wall, but since removed - probably in the 18th century.

Architectural Features

The Tower has no buttressing - uncommon. Around its base are carved stone panels recording the names of benefactors who gave money and animals, to pay for its construction. In the Nave are two large wall memorials, the first to Charles Sloane, First Earl Cadogan, who owned the Estate in the 18th and 19th centuries. The second records the death of his son, Lieutenant Colonel the Honourable Henry Cadogan, killed at the Battle of Vittoria in 1813. The main windows in the Nave are of clear glass, which give good light inside the church. Some stained glass by Kempe (19th century) is fitted, the large East window of the Chancel being installed in 1893 by the then Estate owner Colonel MacKenzie. There is also a very attractive 20th century window, which depicts the forest in the Chancel.

Filming Attributes

Known locally as 'the Church in the Forest', this church has great cinematic presence and offers filmmakers a variety of potential opportunities given its situation within Thetford Forest.


Special Considerations

  • Accommodate Unit Base


4 miles from A11 Thetford. Quarter of a mile from the Little Ouse river (county boundary between Suffolk and Norfolk). 1 mile from 4,000 year old flint mine. Set deep in the heart of Thetford Forest.

Crew and Relevant Links


Email: nancy.sheridan@heritage4media.com

Phone: Heritage4Media: 07736 364722