St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham

St Mary Magdalene Church
St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham.jpg
St Mary Magdalene Church is located in Norfolk
St Mary Magdalene Church
St Mary Magdalene Church
Location in Norfolk
52°49′42″N 0°30′32″E / 52.828204°N 0.508924°E / 52.828204; 0.508924Coordinates: 52°49′42″N 0°30′32″E / 52.828204°N 0.508924°E / 52.828204; 0.508924
Location Sandringham Estate, Sandringham, Norfolk, PE35 6EH
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Traditional Anglican
Website Parish website
Status Active
Dedication St Mary Magdalene
Functional status Parish church
Heritage designation Grade II* listed
Parish Sandringham with West Newton and Appleton
Deanery Heacham and Rising
Archdeaconry Archdeaconry of Lynn
Diocese Diocese of Norwich
Rector The Revd Canon Jonathan Riviere

St Mary Magdalene Church is a church in Sandringham, Norfolk, England, located just to the southwest of Sandringham House. Members of the British Royal Family attend services when in residence at Sandringham, which normally includes Christmas.[1] The current rector is the Reverend Canon Jonathon Riviere.


The chancel

The Grade II* listed[2] church is dedicated to Mary Magdalene[3] and is described as a small building in the Perpendicular style, "nobly lying on raised ground".[4][5] The current building dates to the 16th century and was restored by S. S. Teulon in 1855 and Arthur Blomfield in 1890. It is considered to be a noteworthy example of a carrstone building.[6][7] It is located in the park and is approached from Sandringham House through the garden by "an avenue of fine old Scotch firs".[5]

Much of the decoration and the church's stained glass in the east window was created by Charles Eamer Kempe whom King Edward VII had also commissioned in 1903 to create a stained glass window for Buckingham Palace of his eldest son, Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence.[8][9] The church's silver altar and reredos were presented to Queen Alexandra by the American department store owner, Rodman Wanamaker, as a tribute to Edward VII. He also presented her with the silver pulpit and a silver 17th-century Spanish processional cross. Of note also is a Florentine marble font and a Greek font dating to the 9th-century.[6][10]


There are memorials to many members and relations of the Royal Family in the church and churchyard. Prince John (12 July 1905 – 18 January 1919) is buried here. After his death in February 1952, the body of King George VI was placed in the church for two days prior to its lying in state in Westminster Hall.[11]


The church has been the site of many royal baptisms. These baptisms include:[12][13]


  1. ^ "Duke of Edinburgh misses royals' Christmas Day service". BBC. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Mary Magdelene (1077615)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  3. ^ Blomefield, Francis; Parkin, Charles (1775). An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: History of Norwich. Printed for W. Miller. p. 684. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  4. ^ JSTOR (Organization) (1905). The Musical times. Novello. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  5. ^ a b Jones, C. Rachel (1888). Sandringham, past and present. Jarrold & Sons. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Church of St. Mary Magdalene". Sandringham Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  7. ^ Kelly, E.R. (1865). The Post Office Directory of Norfolk & Suffolk. p. 365. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  8. ^ Margaret Stavridi; Kempe Society (1988), Master of glass: Charles Eamer Kempe 1837-1907 and the work of his firm in stained glass and church decoration, John Taylor Book Ventures for the Kempe Society, retrieved 7 March 2019, The chancel of St Mary Magdelene, Sandringham, decoration and east window by C E Kempe and Co Ltd
  9. ^ "Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence (1864-1892) 1903-05 - by C. E Kempe (d. 1907)". Royal Collection Trust. Retrieved 7 March 2019. Commissioned by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, c.1903. It was originally from the Ministers' Staircase at Buckingham Palace and thought to have been moved after air raids in the 1940s.
  10. ^ James, N P (1 November 2011). Norfolk: A County Guide. Cv Publications. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-908419-01-9. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  11. ^ Time Inc (18 February 1952). LIFE. Time Inc. p. 38. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Royal Baptism: Prince George of Cambridge". 27 September 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Princess Charlotte to be christened at Sandringham". 5 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  14. ^ Morton, p. 100

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