39 PULHAM (7108)
(O.S. 6 ins. ST 70 NW, ST 60 NE, ST 71 SW)
The parish covers 2,416 acres, sloping gently up from
230 ft. above sea-level in the N.E. to nearly 400 ft. in
the S.W. It is drained by the R. Lydden and a tributary
of the Caundle Brook. Most of the land is on Oxford
Clay with patches of Plateau Gravel, but the S. and
S.W. parts are on Corallian Beds. Two large settlements,
East Pulham and West Pulham, occupying the two
largest patches of gravel, were already in existence at
the time of the Domesday survey. Farms grew up
beyond the open fields during the later middle ages;
Grange Farm, 'Grangiam Abbatis de Byneden', is
recorded in 1237 and others, such as Cannings Court
and Pellwell Farm, probably came into existence at
about the same time. (fn. 1)
(1) The Parish Church of St. Thomas À Becket
stands in the E. part of West Pulham and near the centre
of the parish. It has walls of coursed rubble with ashlar
dressings and it is roofed with lead and with modern
tiles. The font and a fragment of sculpture reused as the
head of the tower vice doorway bear witness to a
church of the 12th century, but the present building is
considerably later. The Chancel is of the first half of the
15th century and the E. bay of the nave is contemporary
with it. The easternmost arches of the N. and S. nave
arcades probably represent the entrances to former
North and South Chapels; the E. wall of the S. aisle
appears to be of the 15th century and probably survives
from the former S. chapel. The West Tower is of the
second half of the 15th century. The three western bays
of the Nave and the South Porch are of the early 16th
century; presumably the North and South Aisles are also
of 16th-century origin but they were largely rebuilt in
the 19th century; at the same time a new E. window
was inserted in the chancel, the chancel arch was rebuilt
and the North Vestry was added.
The church is of interest for the surviving traces of
the 15th-century plan, which appears to have been
cruciform. Some notable 16th-century gargoyles are
reset in the 19th-century parapets. The Renaissance
corbels at the W. end of the nave arcades are interesting.
Pulham, the Parish Church of St. Thomas à Becket
Architectural Description—The Chancel (18½ ft. by 14½ ft.)
has a 19th-century E. window of three gradated lights with
roundel tracery in a two-centred head. Heavy diagonal buttresses
at the N.E. and S.E. corners appear also to be of the 19th century.
The N. wall is of the 15th century and has a hollow-chamfered
plinth with a small roll-moulding above; the W. part of the
wall is enclosed in the N. Vestry and has a square-set buttress to
the W. The S. wall retains traces of a blocked doorway and at
the W. end has a square-set buttress similar to the diagonal
eastern buttresses. The chancel arch is of the 19th century; on
each side are square-headed squints.
The Nave (42 ft. by 18 ft.) has a N. arcade of four bays; the
E. bay is of the 15th century and the other three are of the 16th
century. The E. bay has a two-centred arch of two wavemoulded orders separated by deep hollow-chamfers. At the E.
springing the outer mouldings die into the wall and the inner
order springs from a carved female head-corbel; to the W. the
outer moulding on the S. side of the arch ends at a carved stop
while that on the N. dies into the side of a shaped corbel; again
the inner order springs from a female head-corbel. The W.
respond is roughly chamfered and the S. chamfer ends at a carved
base-stop. The part of the nave wall that is carried by the arch is
thicker than to the W. and the extra thickness rests on a shaped
corbel projecting from the N. side of the W. respond. The other
three bays of the N. arcade have two-centred arches composed
of ogee mouldings flanking hollow-chamfers. In the piers the
ogee mouldings spring from three-quarter shafts with leaf carving on the capitals, and polygonal bases; the hollow-chamfers
are continuous. To the E. a half-pier with similar details backs
against the W. respond of the E. bay. To the W. the westernmost
arch springs from a carved stone corbel with Renaissance details;
it is shaped to receive the three orders and it has a roll-moulded
abacus above vertical oak-leaf enrichment; this surmounts a
band of gadroon ornament and mouldings. On the underside
of the corbel two cherubs support a shield carved in relief with
three fleurs-de-lis; the field is red within a blue border and an
indistinct feature at the top of the shield may represent a label.
The S. arcade of the nave is approximately the same as that to
the N. The wall above the 15th-century E. bay is thinner than
in the N. arcade and the hollow-chamfers between the wavemoulded orders are accordingly omitted; the wave mouldings
spring from head-corbels representing, on the E., a woman
and on the W. a man with a large forked beard. At the W. end
of the arcade the 16th-century W. arch springs from a Renaissance corbel, as before, but with a shield on which are carved
emblems of the Passion (Plate 17); the field is blue.
The North Aisle (7½ ft. wide) appears to be entirely of the 19th
century but presumably it replaces a 16th-century aisle. The
three N. windows are square-headed and of three trefoil-headed
lights. The W. window is of two lights with a central quatrefoil
under a two-centred head; it has a hood-mould with reset headstops that are probably of the 18th century.
In the South Aisle, the E., S. and W. walls have hollow-chamfered plinths, and roll-moulded and hollow-chamfered
string-courses below ashlar parapets with moulded copings.
The greater part of the E. wall is of rubble, similar in texture
to that of the chancel and therefore probably mediaeval, but
the S. and W. walls appear to be largely of 1870. At the S.E.
and S.W. corners are diagonal buttresses of two weathered
stages; above these the parapet string-course is interrupted by
reset 16th-century gargoyles (Plate 18). A square-set buttress in
the E. part of the S. wall is surmounted by a similar gargoyle,
and above it in the parapet coping is the base of a pinnacle. The
S. doorway is probably of the 16th century; it has a moulded
four-centred head and continuous jambs. To the W., the small
doorway to the 19th-century porch vice has an elliptical head
without mouldings. The aisle windows are all of 1870; they are
two-centred, each with two trefoil-headed lights and a central
The West Tower (10 ft. by 11 ft.) has two stages; at the base
is a hollow-chamfered plinth. At the N.W. and S.W. corners
the lower stage has diagonal buttresses of three weathered stages;
above the S. aisle roof the S.E. corner has a corresponding
square-set buttress and at the N.E. corner a similar buttress is
combined with the vice turret. The upper stage, with no
buttresses, is distinguished from the lower stage by a weathered
and hollow-chamfered string-course; at the top is a hollow-chamfered and roll-moulded string-course, and an embattled
parapet with a continuous weathered coping. The tower arch
is segmental-pointed and has two wave-moulded orders separated
by hollow-chamfers; the inner order dies into plain responds
which have hollow-chamfered arrises and rounded base-stops;
the outer orders to E. and W. finish on grotesque head-stops.
The vice doorway in the N. wall has a hollow-chamfered four-centred head with continuous jambs; 12th-century carving (see
Miscellanea) is preserved on the reverse of the head. The W.
doorway is of the 16th century and has a round head with a
beaded arris, a hollow-chamfer and a roll-moulding worked to
a flat fillet on one side; these mouldings continue without capitals
on the jambs and terminate in moulded bases. Above them the
arch has a weathered, beaded and hollow-chamfered label with
returned and carved stops; that to the N. represents a woodhouse and that to the S. a chained beast. The W. doorway
appears to have been inserted beneath the W. window (Plate
181), which is of the 15th century and has three trefoil-headed
lights below vertical tracery in a two-centred head; overall is a
hollow-chamfered label with 18th-century bishop and king
head-stops. High up in the lower stage, the S. wall of the tower
has a single chamfered square-headed light with a square label.
The upper stage of the tower has, in each face, a belfry window
of two two-centred trefoil-headed lights below vertical tracery
in a two-centred head; the lights are closed with pierced stone
The South Porch (7½ ft. by 8 ft.) was restored in the 19th
century and has an upper chamber approached by a vice in a
19th-century turret at the N.W. corner. The S.E. and S.W.
corners have diagonal ashlar buttresses of two weathered stages;
at the top, the moulded parapet of the aisle is carried around
the porch, rising to a low gable at the centre of the S. side.
Above the buttresses, the angles of the parapet wall have
grotesque gargoyles which project from the string-course. The
porch arch has an elliptical head with double ogee and hollow-chamfered mouldings, continuing on the jambs to run-out stops;
above is a square-headed window of three trefoil-headed lights.
Fittings—Bells: four; 2nd with initials and date, probably
1627, reversed; others recast 1884. Bier: with turned legs, shaped
braces, beaded rails and turned bearers, oak, early 18th-century.
Font: with cylindrical Purbeck marble bowl with incised
decoration of round-headed arches; bowl rests on polygonal
hollow-chamfered plate, supported on moulded octagonal
centre shaft surrounded by three cylindrical shafts with bases
and capitals; shafts stand on chamfered Purbeck marble pedestal;
bowl and pedestal 12th century, plate and shafts 15th century.
Brass: In chancel, reset on N. wall, plate (17½ ins. by 2½ ins.) with
two-line black-letter inscription 'Hic jacet dns. Rob'tus Canon
hui' ecclie. nup. rector qui obijt iii die octobr. Ao. dni.
mccccxxxiii cui' aie. p'piciet'. deus Amen'. Glass: In W. window
of S. wall, two 15th-century roundels; in W. window of tower,
fragments of 15th-century glazing between cusps. Graffiti: On
lead roof of tower, initials and dates, 1710, 1712. Monuments: In
chancel, reset on N. wall, (1) of Robert Canon, 1433 (see Brass).
In tower, on N. wall, (2) of Martha Michell, 1735, stone tablet
with pediment, scrolled side-pieces, gadrooned base, and apron
with cherub-head; on S. wall, (3) of Thomas St. Lo, rector, 1719,
and others of same family, black stone inscription panel with
gilt lettering in moulded marble surround, with cornice,
obelisks and urn above, shaped apron with skulls below, and
arms of St. Lo impaling Hull. On E. wall of porch, externally,
(4) of Mary Young, 1808, rectangular stone panel carved to
represent vase and drapery, inscription on vase. Niche: Reset as
sedile in N. side of chancel, of stone, with moulded three-sided
base on foliate corbel, side standards ornamented as pinnacles in
two heights, traceried vaulting, and canopy in two tiers, lower
tier with five pinnacles and four ogee-headed arches with
crocketed finials, upper tier with three pinnacles and two arches,
overall, large crocketed finial; 15th century. Plate: includes silver
cup and cover-paten, both with hallmarks of 1571, cup with
zone of incised strap-work, base with enriched flange; also paten
of 1721 presented in that year by Anne St. Lo. Miscellanea: On
reverse of tower vice door-head, carved head, nimbed, with
large eyes and fringe of hair, six-petalled rosette adjacent; 12th
(2) Bridge (71580781), over the R. Lydden, is of
rubble in two spans with segmental arches and triangular
cut-waters. It is of the early 19th century.
(3) Parsons' Bridge, (70480968), over the stream on
the N.W. boundary of the parish, is of rubble in one
span with a semicircular arch; it dates from the late
18th or early 19th century.
(4) The Rectory (71200845), 100 yards S.E. of the
church, is two-storied with attics and has rendered walls
and slated roofs. It was probably built at three periods.
The N.W. part of the main block is of the late 18th
century; its N.W. front (Plate 55), in the 'Gothic' style,
may have been inspired by Chambers's work at Milton
Abbey. The S.E. part of the main block was added early
in the 19th century. The large room to the S. is probably
of the mid 19th century.
The N.W. front is symmetrical and of three bays, the middle
bay slightly recessed. At the centre is the front doorway, in a
projecting three-sided porch; it has a pointed head with a label
and is flanked by narrow lancet lights. On either side the ground
floor has a three-light sashed window in which each light has a
four-centred head and label; on the first floor are three sashed
windows with four-centred heads under square labels, and above
these are three oval attic lights. At the top is an embattled
parapet with very small crenellations in the middle bay and
large ones on the side bays. The S.E. front is also symmetrical
and of three bays, but in an entirely different style. At the centre
of the ground floor is a bow window, flanked by fluted Doric
columns and capped by a classical entablature. To one side is a
french window of four lights, and presumably a similar window
originally opened on the other side but it has now been replaced
by a sashed bay window. On the first floor are three square-headed sashed windows. The roof is low-pitched, with spreading
eaves over a moulded cornice. The wing which projects S. from
the main block is of similar design.
Inside, the vestibule at the centre of the N.W. front has a
stone fireplace surround with a four-centred head. At the middle
of the house is a compartment with a circular ceiling supported
on four pendentives and four elliptical arches with reeded soffits.
The southern room of the S.E. front has a circular plan with
round-headed recesses on the diagonals, moulded pilasters to
the doorways and a reeded marble fireplace surround with
(5) Manor Farm (72500950), house, 1 m. N.E. of the church,
is two-storied, with brick walls and tiled roofs; it dates from the
18th century. The W. front is symmetrical and of three bays.
A square-headed central doorway is flanked on the ground floor
by wooden three-light casement windows with cambered brick
heads. The first floor is marked by a plat-band and there are three
casement windows in the upper storey. A long wing, perhaps
earlier than the W. range, extends E. from the S. part of the
range; its N. elevation is of coursed rubble and its S. side is
(6) East Pulham Farm (72220968), 400 yds. N.W. of the
foregoing, is two-storied with attics and has rendered walls and
thatched roofs; it is probably of the 18th century. It has a
symmetrical E. front of three bays with casement windows.
Inside, one room retains a deep-chamfered beam.
The following monuments are two-storied and of the
late 18th or of the first half of the 19th century.
(7) Cannings Court (71750765), 5/8 m. S.E. of the church, has
rendered rubble walls and slated roofs. The symmetrical threebay W. front has a round-headed central doorway with a fan-light; the windows of both storeys are sashed.
(8) Lipgate Farm (70370824), ½ m. W. of the church, has
rendered walls and a slated roof; the symmetrical W. front is of
(9) Lipgate Cottages (70330819), 100 yds. S.W. of the foregoing, have rendered walls and slated roofs and were probably
built towards the middle of the 19th century.
(10) Pickett's Cottages (69640828), 1 m. W. of the church, have
rubble walls and slated roofs; the W. tenement is of the late
18th century and that to the E. is later. Inside, the W. tenement
has an open fireplace and internal partition walls of cob.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(11) Cultivation Remains. The date of enclosure of the two
open-field systems in the parish is unknown. Remains of the
open fields of West Pulham exist in two places. Some 350 yds.
S.E. of Lipgate Farm (706079) is the S. part of a block of flat
strips, 15 yds. to 20 yds. wide. Further traces of ridge-and-furrow
can be seen on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1186–9),
around the village.
Remains of the open fields of East Pulham occur 300 yds. N.
of Manor Farm (725097), where a small block of ridge-and-furrow 7 yds. wide is overlain by modern field hedges. Further
traces can be seen on air photographs to S.E. and N.E. of East