Origins of the Three Churches in One Churchyard
Reepham churchyard is unusual in that it has three churches in what is now one churchyard. The three churches of Reepham are:-
- St Mary’s, Reepham (with Kerdiston), currently used for worship on a regular basis;
- St Michael’s, Whitwell (with Hackford), used as a community hall and also for worship;
- and the ruins of All Saints, Hackford.
The three churches in Reepham, were situated in these different parishes and as recently as the 18th century and the point at which all three parishes met was marked by a cross. The remains of the cross are now housed in St Mary’s.
The foundation date of each of Reepham’s churches is not clear. Architecturally, the south aisle of St Mary’s seems to date from the 13th century, with the north aisle dating to the 14th century, and St Michael’s appears to be a 14th century building. By the 14th century, Reepham seems to have become the dominant name for describing the three churches and may have come about in the 13th century when John de Vaux, whose lordship of Hackford extended into Reepham, gained a Royal Charter from King Edward I in 1277 for a market place. The Charter relocated the market from an area around Reepham church and churchyard into its current position, which is technically in Hackford Parish.
Great Fire of Reepham
On the 18th April 1543 All Saints was burnt down in the great fire of Reepham, along with a number of other buildings. It is thought that the fire was an accident, however, the date the church was ruined does tie in with the English Reformation, a period when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the pope and Roman Catholic Church.
Reepham’s Three Churches in One Churchyard Project 2016 -2017
The Three Churches Project celebrates the unique feature of the heritage of Reepham – its three medieval churches sharing one churchyard. Read more >