St Margaret’s church, Hardley is located in the Norfolk Broads, an area located in the east of the county formed of river-fed connected lakes and much beloved by the boating and sailing fraternity. Whilst not as isolated as St Mary Houghton, St Margaret’s too stands in open fields with only a couple of houses nearby, testimony to the farming communities which it once served and which have now disappeared.
It is not clear when the church was originally built (it has been suggested that the chancel arch dates from the 13th century), but records of the Great Hospital in Norwich (owners of the manor of Hardley) show that in 1456 a decision was taken to rebuild the chancel and two years later they authorised the replacement of the roof. This might suggest that the original building had fallen into disrepair or out of use before this date. The work was completed by 1461. The church contains a number of features which date from this rebuild. The 15th-century font has an octagonal bowl on a stem supported by lions.
The 15th-century wall paintings were discovered several years ago during redecoration
There are 3 panels, St Christopher, St Catherine and a consecration cross which probably dates from the time the church was re-consecrated as a place of worship after the 15th-century rebuilding.
The chancel screen dates from the 15th century and the simple pulpit is from the Jacobean period (early 17th century).