Conservation of this Grade I listed building is an ongoing concern for the Parochial Church Council, the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches and the Archdeacon. An ambitious programme of conservation work to be undertaken in two stages commenced in June 2001. Provisional estimated cost in April 1999 was £105,613, but by the time the second phase was completed costs had risen to £155,573.
It has only been possible to undertake this work because of generous grants, in recognition of the national importance of the project, from English Heritage, The Norfolk Churches Trust, The Historic Churches Preservation Trust, The Robert Hall Charity and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The Listed Places of Worship Scheme eased the burden of VAT substantially.
The first phase of the project, completed in December 2001, involved repair work to the roof and associated rainwater goods, the clerestory windows and their adjacent stonework to ensure that the building was watertight - an essential precursor to conservation work on the wall paintings. A substantial fissure in the highly stressed central Purbeck marble column at the West doorway necessitated a full-length replacement.
In the course of repair work the builders discovered a former spiral staircase within the upper portion of the south west nave buttress. A photographic record was made prior to the construction of a new stone roof to prevent future ingress of rainwater.
The interior plasterwork was repaired, cleaned down and limewashed, the cost being met in full by the Robert Hall Charity. Dangerous lighting and power circuits were removed and replaced.
In addition a great deal of time was spent removing and eradicating weed and moss growth on the copings, strings, weatherings and cills to walls, buttresses and windows.
The second phase of the conservation programme, devoted to the nave wallpaintings is dealt with separately.