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Carbrooke History & Heritage

Church and Commanderie

Carbrooke, Norfolk is a small agricultural village, it has a surprising and fascinating history, with influences through the centuries from around the world. This website's aim, is to bring together information about the area and its heritage. If you have any comments, information, anecdotes or photographs to share, please contact us

Carbrooke Church InteriorAt the centre of the village and set on a high point, Carbrooke Church, was founded in 1193 by Matilda (Maud) Countess of Clare, following the miraculous cure of her son, James. Matilda's first husband was Roger Earl of Clare and her second husband, William d'Aubigny, founded and was buried at Wymondham Abbey. Matilda and son James are buried in front of the Altar in Carbrooke Church, their tombs said to be some of the oldest in Norfolk. It is believed that Carbrooke Church was built over an older Saxon Church.

Maud gifted the church to the Knights Hospitallers, where a 'Hospital' was established, and which later became 'Carbrooke Commanderie' the main organisational centre in Norfolk for the Knights of St John. The Knights of St. John were an extremely wealthy order, and this would explain, the vast size of Church, in what is really a rather small village.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries (including the Commanderie) by 1540, it became the Parish Church, and at this time probably became dedicated to St Peter & St Paul. The Commanderie buildings were gradually demolished, with the stone being used to erect other buildings in the village. (it is claimed that one of the beams in Old Crown House is from the Commanderie).

Carbrooke Patronal Festival of St Peter and St Paul is June 29th.

For further information relating to the various aspects of the Church and history see below.

Carbrooke Church Website

Vicar: The Revd Jane Elizabeth Atkins,The Rectory, Swaffham Road, Ashill, Thetford (01760) 441191

PCC Secretary: Angela Weatherill

Norfolk Churches Site (Carbrooke Page)

Carbrooke Church Tour - and glossary. A brief guide to Carbrooke church, its history and items of interest.

These two books tell the story of 'The Commanderie of Carbrooke' and 'The Knights Hospitallers', click on the links, they can also be purchased from the church at £2.50 each

Knights who were they Carbrooke HistoryCarbrooke and the Commanderie of the Knights Hospitallers'   compiled by Helen Riley

Carbrooke CommanderieThe Knights Hospitallers, Who Were They?                      compiled by Helen Riley

  English Heritage information regarding Carbrooke Preceptory.

Carbrooke Parish Armour There have been rumours of pieces from a suit of armour in Carbrooke for decades, with some residents claiming to have seen it, but in more recent years, it appeared to have been lost. However during the 2018 Heritage Festival in the church,  whilst looking for something else, a member of the PCC found what she recognised as the missing armour. We were delighted to have rediscovered and restored it. More.

Carbrooke Bells and Bellringing                                                           The history of Carbrooke Church Bells compiled by Helen Riley.

'Father George'  A much loved, but perhaps controversial, vicar of Carbrooke 1927 - 1955.

List of Carbrooke Commanders and Vicars not complete

Carbrooke Vicars Logs 1922 - 1981: Personal reviews of the events of the Parish, compiled by the Vicars of Carbrooke.

East Window/ Mystery of Judith Chamberlain researched by Mark Ward.

Carbrooke original King James Bible 1611

Carbrooke Parish Registers

Norfolk Baptism Project: A very useful site for anybody researching Norfolk ancestry. Carbrooke Baptism records 1812 -1880 have been added to this database.Hosted by ROOTSWEB

Carbrooke Baptisms 1881-1920

Carbrooke Marriages 1813 -1901

Carbrooke Burials 1813 -1868

Carbrooke Church registers are now  in Norfolk Records Office (80 items) where they can be studied by the public, historically they were kept in the Parish Chest in the Church, which is still there, but not in the best of condition. Those still in use are kept in the church.                                             Carbrooke Parish Chest 2011


Page last Updated 06.11.20