Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

The Church In Denton

It is the Church Council's aim that the Church in Denton reflects the friendly and sociable character of the village. More than 25 years ago it was decided to amalgamate the Anglican and United Reformed denominations into one ecunemical church - still a rare situation in Britain.

The Church in Denton is a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP). The LEP is run by a single Joint Church Council (JCC), which comprises members of both constituent churches. The JCC reports to The Earsham Benefice, which covers six parishes including Alburgh, and to the Waveney Valley Ecumenical Partnership. Members of both churches worship together in church and chapel and similarly Rector and Minister conduct services in both locations.


Services are normally held in the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin on the first and third Sundays of the month and in the Chapel on the second and fourth Sundays. Everybody, of whatever religious persuasion, is most welcome. Following a long tradition, services in Denton, Alburgh and sometimes elsewhere in the benefice, are listed below. Further information is provided in the Benefice Newsletter.

Flower and Cleaning Rotas

The flower and cleaning rotas for both the Church and Chapel appear on a Separate Page.

St. Mary's

The Parish Church probably owes its isolated position off Danacre Road to its being built near one of the chief residences of the village in Saxon times. The western Norman tower which is clearly visible from the Alburgh Road, has been strangely restored with brick partly replacing the flint masonry, after the original round tower collapsed in the early 1500's. Its height was increased by 10 ft in 1843.

The Clock

The tower contains a fine peal of bells and an ancient clock. The latter is driven in the traditional way by descending weights. These need to be wound up on a weekly basis. The task is performed by a small team of noble volunteers. Offers of help are always welcome.

The Winding Rota appears on a Separate Page.

Restoration Project

The PCC announced in 2016 that St Mary’s had been awarded a first round pass for a grant of £249,400 for urgent repairs by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This represented 82.6% of the estimated total project cost of £301,905.

2016 saw project development work with assessments, surveys and costs. In 2017 work commenced on Monday 6th March (see below) and the building became a construction site. The urgent extensive repairs to the church were completed by the end of 2017.

Progress Report - 2017

The Parochial Church Council of St Mary’s Church Denton are delighted to announce that very urgent extensive repairs have commenced on 6th March 2017 following a very substantial National Lottery grant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) totalling some £223,000 which will hopefully lift this medieval Grade One listed building off of the "at risk" register by Historic England.

INTERNALLY, the extensive works involve:

EXTERNALLY, the works include:

  • Complete new underground drainage system around the church,
  • All new rainwater pipework and guttering,
  • The replacement of the North and South aisles roof's lead sheet with Terne coated Stainless steel,
  • Repairs to Aisles, Chancel and Tower buttresses masonry and other tower repairs,
  • Asphalt the porch roof,
  • Paint the clock faces.

    St Mary’s has three species of bats so work progresses with great care so as to have as little impact on these bats as possible. Outside work will continue through the spring and summer. The main contractor is R & J Hogg Ltd of Colney Weston and the Architect is Ruth Brennan of Norwich. The main contact is Johnnie Carslake (Fabric Officer) Denton.

    St Mary’s Denton is a flint round tower church with a square red brick tower due to a partial collapse of the round tower in the 16th or 17th century and as part of the 2018 celebrations there will be a pageant called “A Square Tower in a Round Hole”. St Mary’s is also famous for it’s most historic East window which contains glass some 700 years old. The first known Rector of St Mary’s church was in 1307 in the reign of Edward First. It is believed there was an earlier Chancel. The Knave is 14th century and the North porch 15th century.

    When asked Revd Chris Hutton, Rector of Denton, said. “It is a great relief that the repair work has started on our wonderful church building. St Mary's Church has been and still is a place of worship and a huge part of the Denton community for centuries and this work will ensure the external integrity of the building for many years to come. I am particularly pleased not just to see the physical refurbishment work taking place on site, but also the emphasis placed on the community aspect of the development."

    Starting with an Angel Festival in December 2017 there will be various community events to mark St Mary's place within the History of Denton which will take place during 2018 following the completion of the restoration work.

    More information about the church including a list of rectors is provided in the History Section.

    Another page provides details of the Building itself.

    Denton Church tower, built out of brick and flint with a clock mounted high up

    The Chapel

    The Chapel occupies a central point in the village, at the junction of Trunch Hill, Norwich Road and Chapel Hill, and has justifiable claims to be one of the oldest non conformist chapels in Norfolk. The current building, which replaced an earlier structure, was built in 1821. Further information is provided in the History Section.

    Denton Chapel built in 1821

    Both Parish Church and Chapel provide venues for other activities such as concerts and exhibitions and each Thursday morning the Chapel vestry becomes the Village Post Office, thus allowing villagers to draw their pensions and carry out any other postal business without having to travel further afield.

    Refreshments are served during the morning by volunteers who encourage people to make their visit a social occasion.


    If you wish for further details the church secretary and churchwardens will be delighted to help. The Rector, who covers a Benefice of six parishes, is based in Earsham. The Minister, who is based at Emmanuel Church, Bungay, organises the services at the Chapel.

    Further information about both the Benefice and the Partnership is available from their websites referenced at the top of this page.


    Records are available of all the graves in the Churchyard and around the Chapel.
    Please contact the Churchwardens, see above, for the former and Mrs Hilda Thomas, 01986 788249, for the latter.

    Roman Catholic Church

    The nearest Roman Catholic Church to Denton is St Edmunds in St Mary's Street, Bungay.

    Contact: Rt. Rev. Abbot Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard OSB, MPhil. Tel: 01986 893355

    Norfolk Humanists

    There is a branch of the British Humanist Association in Norwich.

    Their Website provides details of humanist ceremonies etc.

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