St Mary's Church has recently undergone a good deal of conservation and repair work. The village of West Tofts is mentioned in the Domesday Book, where there is no reference to a church, but it is believed that the present building stands on the site of an earlier church. The nave dates from the C14 and the tower from the C15 and is described by the Norfolk historian, Francis Blomefield, as "a very ancient building... of great antiquity". The church is a rare example of the work of the 19th century architect, Pugin whose work involved an almost complete rebuilding of the original medieval church, and most of Pugin's original work can still be seen today.
When the church was closed in 1942 all the stained glass was removed for safe keeping. The last Rector was the Revd Gordon Tugwell who remained until 1947 as the Chaplain to the forces in the Battle Area. The church was closed until just over 10 years ago when the first carol service was held. There is now an annual carol service and a service held each year June or July by the church's Patrons.
In 1950 an agreement was reached between the Bishop of Norwich and the principal secretary of the War office over the maintenance of the four churches in the battle area. In 2005, the Diocese of Norwich took the unprecedented step of applying to English Heritage for a grant for Historic Buildings, Monuments and Designed Landscapes. The application was successful and English Heritage awarded the Diocese the sum of £104,000 towards stabilisation work at the church. With the help of further grants from the Church Buildings Council, Norfolk Churches Trust, the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme and the Augustus Sutton Trust, this first phase of work has finally been completed this year. The total cost of the works was £159,349.
The works included renewing all the rainwater goods and drains on the north side of the nave and chancel, and obtaining conservation reports to ascertain the condition of all the painted surfaces, stained glass and metal work, as well as carrying out emergency works to stabilise the rood screen and wall paintings. The entire east window (which had been moved to the Stained Glass Museum in Ely) was also reinstated.
The Diocese of Norwich has been fortunate enough to have been awarded a second grant from English Heritage of £152,775 towards a second phase of work with total project costs of £203,700. This will include on-going stabilisation work and conservation of the paintwork on the rood screen, the paint and stonework of the Sutton vault, and the paintwork on the Sutton Tomb, as well as the re-leading of all the windows and the reinstatement of the stained glass in the remaining chancel windows. The Diocese is currently seeking grants and donations to cover the £50,000 difference between English Heritage's offer and the total cost of the work.