Although the parish is mentioned in the Domesday Commissioners’ report of 1086, no reference is made to a church or priest.
Less than 100 years later there were two churches in the village, St Mary’s and All Saints – however, no sign of All Saints now
St Mary’s represented the focal point of village life for hundreds of years, being used for various meetings other than religious occasions. For example, the porch, added around 1300, was used as a schoolroom.
Sir Robert Walpole, England’s first Prime Minister in 1720 is thought to have been educated in the porch as a young boy. His descendants still live in Houghton Hall, 3 miles to the north.
The great square tower of St. Mary’s Church, built in the 15th century, is a structure with diagonal buttresses tapering up in four stages to the battlements and corner pinnacles. It houses four bells, three of which were re-cast in 1903.
The outstanding architectural feature of the church is its 13th-century porch. The high entrance arch is supported by a pair of polygonal buttresses. Visitors then walk between six pairs of fine lancet windows and then enter the church through a doorway of the same period as the porch.
The church interior has several notable features, most striking is the exceptionally tall arch under the tower at the west end of the nave. The apex of this arch is about half the height of the tower itself. Other features include the 14th-century font, the very old coats of arms painted high on the clerestory walls, the unused door to the rood loft high up in the north wall of the chancel, and the 15th century painted glass in the south windows of the chancel. The figures were decapitated by the Puritans in the 16th century, however, the symbols carried by the figures indicate that they are eight of the Apostles.