The church of Pulham St Mary Magdalene was founded as a Chapel-of-Ease to the mother church at Pulham St Mary the Virgin to serve the community which had grown around the open space where a flourishing market was developing.
The church ceased to be a Chapel-of-Ease in 1858 when the living was divided. The existing building, possibly replacing an earlier structure, dates from the early 14th century to the late 15th.
The south arcade is earlier than the north, suggesting that the church originally consisted of nave and chancel, with successive additions following the increasing prosperity of the market end of Pulham in the later Middle Ages.
The outstanding feature of the church is the arch-braced roof in natural oak. The mouldings and enrichments of the roof are worth examination. The eastern panel, originally a panoply of honour for the rood, was repainted in 1873. The cross and dove from the top of the old font cover was restored in 1997, and is now placed in a window of the north aisle.
Heavily restored in 1873, the windows were replaced and the vestry added. The painting over the chancel arch, showing the Ascension, was painted in 1895 as a memorial to members of the Fellows family. The remains of the medieval screen have been placed under the tower arch. Note: some old bench ends were reused for later benches in the chancel.
There are four stages, built in the 15th century c:1435. There are eight bells which are rung regularly, the oldest being dating from 1724.
The North Porch
This is perhaps the finest part of the exterior, built with money left in a will of 1456. It has flushwork panelling and finely worked detail. There is a Priest's room above. It is clear that the north aisle was added after the porch was built.
14th and 15th century fragments are to be found in the west window of the North aisle. Other glass is Victorian, the most notable being the east window with panels depicting Mary Magdalene washing Christ's feet, the crucifixion and Mary Magdalene telling the disciples of Christ's resurrection. This together with the other stained glass windows was inserted at or subsequent to the restoration of 1873, donated by and dedicated to members of the Cole and Frost families whose forebears lived in the parish.
Today, St Mary Magdalene is a gateway church and is open for visitors at all reasonable times. It is part of the Benefice of Dickleburgh and the Pulhams which covers six parishes. For more details see http://www.thebenefice.org.uk
Pulham Market Parochial Church Council is responsible for its financial affairs and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents. For more information, contact Charlotte Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs Hays is a children's author who has published a series of tales from her home of Gothic Farm in the village. Proceeds from the sale of the books goes to church projects. Her books can be purchased from the village store in Pulham Market. See http://www.gothicfarmbooks.co.uk
Pulham St Mary Magdalene Church
ST MARY MAGDALENE
01379 608 590
Pulham Market Parish Council