Friends of All Saints' Waterden

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We have three main aims:

1) To preserve the unique character of All Saint’s Waterden, in particular its tranquillity and spirituality, as a place of Christian worship.
2) To put the maintenance of the church and churchyard on a sustainable footing and ensure that they are cared for so that worshippers and visitors can enjoy them for another 1,000 years.
3) To make All Saints’ Waterden better known and increase the use of the church and churchyard by worshippers and visitors to help enlarge and sustain the All Saints’ Waterden community.


We will achieve our aims by:

1) Raising money
2) Engaging volunteers
3) Staging events
4) Running an education programme
5) Researching and writing about the history of Waterden church and village.

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Restricted Access to Waterden Church during Restoration Work

On 2 January 2019 work is starting on the major restoration and improvement works to All Saints' Waterden. The church will then be totally closed to visitors until summer 2019. We apologize for this but there is no alternative to complete closure. We will post again once we know the precise re-opening date.


Mediaeval church of All Saints’ Waterden awarded National Lottery support

South Creake Parochial Church Council has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £182,000 for vital restoration work to the ancient church of All Saints’ Waterden. This hidden and remote North Norfolk gem nestles in the fields near the site of a lost mediaeval village.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the support through the Heritage Lottery Fund aims to make the roof and porch watertight, combat damp, repair walls and do other essential work to preserve the 11th century gem for future generations. This work is much needed. Although services and other events are held in the church, its poor condition means it is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.

The project will secure the church’s fabric but its simple charm will remain unchanged. It has no electricity or water and that is how it will stay.

As well as the National Lottery grant, the project, costing £235,000 in total, is being made possible by generous donations from other grant funders. The Norfolk Churches Trust are donating £10,000, the Garfield Weston Foundation £7,500, and the Geoffrey Watling Charity £1,000. The nearby Holkham Estate has also given £3,000.

As part of the project, research into the history of the church and the nearby lost village of Waterden will also be carried out. The village disappeared in the late Middle Ages but it is unclear why. New literature will be prepared to inform the public about the Grade II listed building and the village.

The project will also ensure that the beautiful church becomes better known and is made more accessible to visitors and worshippers. They will be helped by a small new car park set well away from the church on land leased from the Holkham Estate, an orientation board in the car park, and new road signs. The programme of community involvement with this much-loved place will be stepped up.

A community group, the Friends of All Saints’ Waterden, has been established to help to care for the church and to maintain the churchyard. In addition to raising funds for the maintenance of the church, the Friends hold events to stimulate interest in it and to share its beauty and spirituality.

All Saints has a venerable history. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and is a jumble of architectural styles from Norman to early English and Tudor. A storm in the early 17th century caused part of the nave to collapse but the church kept going and now holds eight services a year including a popular candlelit Carol Service on Christmas Eve for the local community.

The church is remote even by the standards of North Norfolk and its peaceful charm has attracted some well-known people. The playwright Alan Bennett has written about it in his diaries and the cartoonist Osbert Lancaster drew a delightful line drawing of the church.

Fr Clive Wylie, Rector of Waterden and Vicar of South Creake, said: “All Saints’ Church is a wonderful place of great spirituality and peace. I am delighted that we have received this support for our 1,000-year-old church thanks to the National Lottery players and I hope it will help to secure its future for another 1,000 years.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF, East of England said: “We have been delighted to support All Saints’ Waterden, to carry out urgent repairs and to make the history of this fascinating church accessible to more people. Thank you to the National Lottery players who have made it possible.”




Our members are drawn from literally all over the county of Norfolk and the UK but the one thing we all have in common is our love for the remarkable church of All Saints' Waterden and our determination to keep it open and in good repair for years to come.

We have a very active executive committee and a total membership of around 70 people. To achieve our aims (see below on the right) we need to build on that number and attract people who are willing to help financially by paying subscriptions, support the committee in the promotion of fund-raising and profile-raising events, and get involved with hands on help in the day-to-maintenance of the building and the churchyard.

Individual Annual Membership is £15, Joint Annual Membership £25, Individual Life Membership £100, and Joint Life Membership £200.

Click here and download the Friends' Membership Form NOW or contact the Friends' Secretary, Lucy Hodges, here.


Our Patron

We are delighted to announe that Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has agreed to become our Patron.

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE became Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2012. She came to the college from the National Trust, of which she was Director-General from 2001-2012. During her time at the National Trust she made it warmer and more welcoming, bringing the houses to life and raising the profile of the Trust’s work in the countryside.

Before becoming DG of the Trust, she was Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office (1998-2000), Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (now Campaign to Protect Rural England, 1987-98) and Secretary to the Council for National Parks (now Campaign to Protect National Parks, 1980-87).

Fiona is a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water, and Chair of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, the Green Alliance, the International National Trusts Organisation and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England. Fiona was appointed CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998 and DBE in 2008.


Latest news


Classical Guitar Concert by Mela ensemble - Friday 31 May at 7PM 2019

This concert by the critaclly acclaimed Mela ensemble will take place at Saint Mary's Church, South Creake and be held in aid of All Saints' Church Waterden.



Why we need your support 

Waterden’s Anglo-Saxon church has miraculously survived for 1000 years. It is much loved by locals and others for its beauty and spirituality and is still used as a place of Christian worship and a destination for visitors and pilgrims. But it has been a struggle to keep this Grade II* listed church and its churchyard in a good condition. Now a group of volunteers has set up a Friends group to put the maintenance of the church and its graveyard on a sustainable footing. 

By becoming a Friend you will help to provide a regular income to ensure the church continues for future generations. The money will cover daily maintenance and running costs. We also want to make the church better known locally and further afield by telling the fascinating story of the church and promoting it as a place to visit.


Churchyard clean-up

On Monday 14 August 2017 nine people spent five-and-a-half hours slashing, mowing and strimming the overgrown churchyard. It is now free – more or less – of brambles and nettles. While the cattle looked on in amazement, we laboured away, stopping only to munch chicken kebabs from the barbecue and drink Alison Wakeman’s welcome tea. We hope to keep the churchyard looking this neat and tidy from now on.

Thanks to Adam Bunkle, Kate Libovitz, Kit Pike, Christine Abel, Andy Culshaw, Cath O’Driscoll, Sarah Dyson, Michael Prest and Lucy Hodges for their efforts.

Since then Richard Powell has been keeping the vegetation under control. We are very grateful to him for his hard work.




Data Privacy Policy FoASW

The Friends of All Saints' Waterden's  Data Privacy Policy can be downloaded here.

Church of Our Lady Saint Mary

Church Lane, South Creake NR21 9LX  07970 875052
Data Privacy Policy
South Creake Parochial Church Council's Data Privacy Policy can be downloaded here.