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Ralph Guader, who, with the Earls of Northumberland and Hereford, at a
festive meeting in the Castle, entered into a conspiracy against the King,
who had gone to Normandy ; but being frustrated in his design by the
vigilance of the Bishop of Worcester, the Sheriff of that county, and
Walter Lucy, Baron of Hereford, he withdrew into Brittany, leaving in
the Castle a garrison of Britons under the command of his wife, who
heroically sustained a prolonged siege till, being reduced by famine, she
surrendered to the King on condition of being allowed to leave the country
with all her forces in security. During this siege, the city was much
injured, but it gradually recovered from the severe calamity.

After the settlement of the Normans in England, a survey was made
of the whole kingdom in 1086, and recorded in a volume called "Domes-
day Book," a most important document. In it we find full particulars of
the area, the owners, and the wealth of all the land in all the counties and
towns. Norwich then contained 1364 burgesses, hundreds of houses, and
ninety-eight houses in the occupation of the Castle. These it seemed
were either pulled down to enlarge the outworks, or were occupied by the
garrison, or were assigned to lie under the jurisdiction of the Constable of
the Castle.

On the death of the Conqueror, Roger Bigod held the Castle at Norwich
for Robert Carthose, Duke of Normandy, elder brother of William
Rufus, wasting the city and county, and plundering all those who refused
to join him. The dispute was compromised, and Roger Bigod remained
in possession of the Castle, and held it peaceably during that King's reign.
The county was for a short time free from the factious contentions of the
nobles, who lorded it over the district.

Henry I., on his accession to the crown a.d. 1100, was opposed by many
of the nobles, who were in the interest of Robert his elder brother, but
Roger Bigod strongly espousing his cause, became a great favourite. In
1100 the King gave him Framlingham Castle, in Suffolk, and continued
him constable of Norwich Castle till his death. He was succeeded by his
son William Bigod, aind at his death his brother, Hugh Bigod, inherited
the honour and estate, and was appointed constable of the Castle and
governor of the city, and he continued so till 1122, when the King kept
his Christmas in Norwich ; and granted the citizens a charter, containing
the same franchises and priveleges as the citizens of London enjoyed.


From this time the city was governed by a provost or portreve chosen by
the King, part of whose office was to collect all the King's dues. The
government of the city was thus severed from that of the Castle^ the con-
stable of which had been previously the sole governor.

The city was re-built in the reign of King Stephen, who incorporated
the inhabitants, and gave the town as an appanage to his third son
William, from whom it was afterwards taken by Henry II., whose son
gave it to Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, in order to secure his interest in
his rebellion against his father. The earl having repaired the fortifications
and placed a strong garrison of French and Flemings in the Castle, held
it for some time against the King, but after a vigorous defence he was
compelled to surrender it and to purchase peace by the payment of 1000

In the reign of King John, the Dauphin of France, whom the con-
federated barons against the King invited to their assistance, besieged and
took possession of the Castle, plundered the citizens, and committed many
depredations. After the city had recovered from the great injury it had
sustained, it was for protection surrounded by high stone walls, having
forty towers and twelve gates. Some vestiges of the walls and towers
yet remain.

Henry III. appointed Roger Bigod (1216) constable of Norwich
Castle, which he held till his death in 1220. In 1223 the citizens obtained
a grant that the government of the city should be vested in four bailiffs
instead of a provost ; but it does not appear that they had any charter
for it. In 1228 the citizens obtained a new charter, with a few more
privileges. In 1239 the King came to Norwich for the purpose of settling
the disputes between the monks and citizens, and decided that in conse-
quence of the liberties of the monks having been granted prior to those
of the citizens, the monks should use and exercise the rights which they
possessed; that the citizens should not molest them in such exercise,
and that both parties should enjoy their rights and privileges as before.
Accordingly in 1244 the tenants of the Prior were taxed in one-fifth of
the tollage of the city ; so that though the Prior carried his point, the
citizens also carried theirs. Subsequently, however, there were frequent
broils between the monks and the citizens, and sometimes people were
killed in aftrays.

Norwich suffered severely from the continued discord between the
monks and the citizens ; the latter assaulted and set fire to the Monastery,
which was burnt down, with the exception of the chapel. The King
being informed of this outrage, visited the city, and, after due investigation,
caused thirty young men to be executed. In 1446, another assault on the
monks was restrained by the activity of the Duke of Norfolk, who seized


and punished the ringleaders^ displaced the Mayor from his office, and
appointed Sir John Clifton governor of the place, till the King might be
pleased to restore its forfeited privileges.

In the reign of Elizabeth, the Dutch and Walloons, fleeing from the
persecution of the Duke of Alva in the Netherlands, found an asylum in
this country, especially in the Eastern Counties. That Queen, by the
encouragement which she gave to the emigrants who introduced their
manufactures here, laid the foundation of the industrial and commercial
prosperity of the city, but the working classes were very averse to the
strangers, whom they persecuted for a long time.

In the reign of Edward YI., the brothers Eobert and William Kett, of
Wymondham, under the pretence of resisting the inclosure of waste
lands, excited a formidable rebellion, and advanced with 20,000 followers
to Household Heath, where they encamped ; but after much fighting,
they were at length defeated by the Earl of Warwick, who commanded a
numerous army. About 3000 of the rebels were killed, and the two
brothers being taken prisoners, were hanged in chains, one on Norwich
Castle and the other on the steeple of Wymondham Church.

During the Civil War in the reign of Charles I., the city was held by
the Parliamentary forces, who defaced the Cathedral, stripped it of all its
ornaments and plate, burnt the jDictures, damaged the episcopal palace,
and turned Bishop Hall out of it. The citizens were among the first to
hail the restoration of monarchy in the person of Charles II., who was
proclaimed here on May 10th, 1660, and the sum of £1000 was presented
to his Majesty on behalf of the city by the Mayor.

Norwich extended, increased, and flourished exceedingly during the
eighteenth century. The population amounted to 40,000 persons, chiefly
employed in manufactures. The merchants were numerous, and traded
in all parts of Europe. Mr. Arthur Young, in 1770, estimated the value
of the textile fabrics produced at £1,200,000 ! large quantities being-
exported to France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia., and other countries.
The East India Company gave orders for goods to a large extent, but
that old trade is entirely at an end.

For 600 years the city has been represented in Parliament by two
members, whose election from time to time has occasioned many a contest
which sometimes lasted for weeks, attended by an expenditure of hundreds
of thousands of pounds, till at last Norwich became quite notorious for
bribery, especially in the present century.

More than twenty charters had been granted to Norwich pre\'ious to
that of Charles II., under which the city was governed till the passing
of the Municipal Reform Act. The government since then has been
vested in a Mayor, sixteen Aldermen, and forty-one Councillors. The


Mayor and Sheriff are elected yearly by tlie Council ; the municipal
boundaries are co-extensive with those for Parliamentary purposes ; and
the city is divided into eight wards. The income of the Corporation,
including the Boai'd of Health, has been increased from £4,500 to £45,000
yearly, and the city is about £200,000 in debt ? The local taxation is
8s. Gd, in the pound, caused by the vast expenditure of the Board of
Health for public improvements, such as drainage, widening streets,
opening new streets, extension of the cattle market, &c. The old Paving
Commissioners expended £300,000 in forty years, and left Norwich the
worst-paved city in Europe. The new Board of Health has expended
£500,000 in twenty years, and borrowed £160,000, most of the money
being buried in sewers.

The management of the poor is regulated under the new Poor Law
Act, which extends over forty-five incorporated parishes, including the
hamlets of Heigham, Eaton, Lakenham, Thorpe, Catton, Trowse, Carrow,
and Bracondale. The gross rental of the city is estimated at £261,280,
and the rateable value at £218,595. The Board of Guardians on their
assessment raise about £30,000 yearly for the relief of the poor. The
out-door relief far exceeds in amount that of the inmates of the new
Workhouse, about 600 in number. About 3000 persons are recipients
of out-door relief weekly.

The following returns show the gradual increase of the population in
the present century:— In 1801, 36,832; 1811, 37,256; 1821, 50,288;
1831, 61,116; 1841,62,294; 1851, 68,713; 1861, 74,414; 1871, 80,300.
In 1831, the number of houses was 13,156; in 1835, it was 14,201; in
1841, 14,680; in 1861, 17,112; in 1871, 21,000. Poor rates in 1832,
£25,541, in 1838, £16,595; in 1863, £37,114; in 1869, £32,114, of which
sum £4500 was for the first time applied to the borough fund.

Norwich is well supplied with water from the new works, completed and
opened in September, 1851. The source of supply is the river Wensum,
about a mile above the town in Heigham, on the north side. This is a
chalk stream, very little polluted except by land drainage, and when fil-
tered the water is of good quality. It is pumped into a subsiding reservoir
on the banks of the river, from which it descends into filter beds, being-
then forced by engine-power up to an elevated store reservoir two and
a-lialf miles distant on the other side of the city. The high water line of
this reservoir is 120 feet above the river, and from this reservoir the whole
city is supplied with water by gravitation. The Company's Act incor-
porated the Water Works Clauses Act of 1847, which bound them by
section 35 to give a constant supply of water, with the only limitation
that the water need not be constantly laid on under a pressure greater
than the height of their new reservoirs would give. On the completion


of the works this condition was complied with_, but difficulties soon arose.
The first was from the bursting of the old mains^ which were too weak
to stand the increased pressure. At length new and stronger mains were
laid throughout the whole city. The total expenditure on the works has
been about £138,000, including £30,000 for the purchase of the old works,
which were quite useless to the Company. The total capital they are
empowered to raise, including debenture stock, is fixed at £160,000. The
dividend is limited to six per cent. The number of houses taking water
from the Company is 11,500, estimated to contain 57,000 inhabitants, out
of a total population of 81,000. It increases from year to year. The
quantity of water supplied on the average of the year is about fourteen
and a-half gallons per head per diem. The increased supply of pure water
has been very beneficial to the health of the inhabitants.

A considerable trade in agricultural produce arises from the situation
of the city in the centre of an extensive district, remarkable for its
fertility and the greatly improved mode of its cultivation. There is much
business done in cattle, corn, malt, artificial food for cattle, artificial
manures, &c. A very extensive market is held every Saturday on the
Castle Hill for horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. The market is well
attended, and the transactions are on a great scale, more in amount per
annum than all other trades put together.

The great cattle markets of Eastern England are Norwich on Satur-
days, and Bury on Wednesdays, and the former takes the first rank, as it
should do in the capital of East Anglia. The market was extended a
few years since by the Corporation at a cost of £52,000 ; and notwith-
standing the competition of other places, there is .reason to believe that a
fair return will be secured on the capital expended. The market has
greatly increased, and the Hill on Saturdays presents a busy, animated
scene, being attended by graziers, farmers, and dealers from all parts of
the country.

On Saturdays there is a considerable market for corn, and it is well
attended by merchants and farmers. It is the most important market in
the eastern counties, and since the oiDening of railways has greatly
increased. In 1868 the sales of barley amounted to 166,796 quarters, of
wheat to 65,903 quarters. The Corn Exchange in Exchange Street is a
large commodious building of great height, lighted from the roof, which
is formed of iron and glass. On Saturdays it is open from 1 p.m. till
4 p.m., when the market is closed.

Norwich, with its 80,000 inhabitants, is said to occupy more ground
than any other town of equal population in the country. To build small
houses side by side instead of high houses with storeys one above the
other should be favourable to public health ; but the dirt and squalor in


some parts of tlie old city neutralizes tlie structural advantage, while the
great number of low mean houses imparts a poverty of aspect. A city,
however, which contains a Castle, a Cathedral, forty Churches, and some
remarkable buildings, cannot fail to be interestiug. But the visitor feels
bewildered when he plunges into its confusion of narrow crooked streets,
now discovering half-a-dozen churches within hail of each other, now
emerging into some open spaces called plains, as St. PauFs Plain, St.
Andrew's Plain, Bank Plain, Theatre Plain, and so forth, where he pauses
a few moments, after u;any ins and outs or ups and downs, and catches a
few perspective effects along the narrow ways. Now he is among weavers
and shoemakers ; now in a crowd of '' factory mawthers," to whom suc-
ceed dignitaries of the Church and gentlefolks from hall and manor-house
for miles around, and groups of chubby-cheeked rustics talking in their
queer dialect.

The most cheerful part of the city is the spacious Market Place. The
old Guildhall, standing in one corner, still wears the aspect of the days
when workmen could be pressed, and contrasts strangely with the new
Fish Market built near it, covering valuable space that might be better
occupied. We may fancy how the old Market Place looked in the days
when pilgrims passed through on their way to Walsingham, when most of
the houses were thatched and the spacious area was covered with gravel.
Here fierce battles have been fought in crude struggles for liberty. Here
martyrs have been burnt alive, and with lasting results. Here Arthur
Youug, the agricultural reformer, was burnt in effigy. The Gentleman's
Walk is on the east side ; why so named is more than we can tell, cer-
tainly not because only gentlemen walk there, but possibly because the
merchants there are gentlemanly in their deportment. In the centre there
is a fine bronze statue of the Duke of Wellington, which would be far
more appropriately placed on the south side of the Green, opposite the
statue of Nelson, in the Close.

The Market Place is a spacious area of irregular outline, much improved
of late years by the erection of new warehouses and shops. But many
gable-ended roofs, lingering above the wooden shop fronts and quaint
projecting storeys, impart a picturesque aspect to the scene, which is very
animated on market days. The market is entirely surrounded by well-
stocked shops or inns and taverns, and is abundantly supplied with
provisions of every kind. Meat, poultry, fruit, and vegetables are
supplied in quantities unlimited, and in summer there is a great display
of fruits, plants, and flowers.

Formerly, some of the streets near the Market Place were named from
the trades of those who occupied them. Thus there were Saddlers' Gate,
now White Lion Street ; Wastelgate, now Red Lion Street ; Cordwainers'


Row, now part of the Walk ; Goldsmiths' Row, north side of the Market ;
Hosiers' Row, in part of London Street; Cutler's Row, in part of
London Street; Hatters' Row, now St. Giles' Street; Dyers' Row, in St.
Lawrence Street. Pottergate Street is still so called. The Cloth Hall
stood in the Hayinarket ; and on the west side were the Butchery, the
Fishmarket, and various rows where articles of food were sold.


Norwich was raised into an episcopal see by Herbert de Losinga, who,
having been made Bishop of Thetford, transferred the seat of the diocese
to this city in 1094, where, having purchased a large plot of ground near
the Castle, he erected a Cathedral, an Episcopal Palace, and a Monastery
for Benedictine Monks, the revenue of which at the dissolution was
£1050 17s. 6d. The diocese comprises 897 benefices, and comprehends
the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and eleven parishes in the county of
Cambridge ; but by the new ecclesiastical arrangements under the Act of
William IV., cap. 77, the Deaneries of Lynn and Fincham, in Norfolk,
the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, and the eleven parishes in Cambridgeshire,
were transferred to the diocese of Ely.

The ecclesiastical establishment consists of the Bishop, the Dean, four
Archdeacons, six Prebendaries, six Minor Canons (one of whom is Pre-
centor), an Epistoler, a Gospeller, eight Lay Clerks, ten Choristers, an
Organist, and other officers. The Bishop is a suflPragan of the Archbishop
of Canterbury, and besides being entitled by his episcopal dignity, he sits
in the House of Peers as titular Abbot of St. Bonnet at Holme, being
the only abbot in England. He possesses the patronage of the Arch-
deaconries, the Chancellorship, and forty-two benefices, with the alter-
native patronage of five others, and has an income of £4456. The Dean
and Chapter consist of six canons residentiary (in the patronage of the
Chancellor, with one exception), and have the patronage of six minor
canonries and forty-two benefices, with an income of £5245.


Begun by Herbert de Losinga, first Bishop of Norwich, in 1096, is one of
the finest specimens of Norman architecture existing in this country. The
tower is quite unrivalled for its proportions and the beauty of its details.
The transepts and west fronts have been restored, but not thereby
improved in beauty. The chief entrance on the west is a vaulted portal of
pointed architecture, above which is a well-proportioned window, recently
filled in with stained glass. The nave within is grand and imposing, divided
in length by fourteen semi-circular arches, of great solidity and depth,
supported by massive piers. The triforium is composed of similar arches.


The side aisles arc low, and the vaultings plain. The roof is elaborately
decorated with sculptured bosses. Two of the arches of the south aisle
of the nave are perpendicular, the vaulting being of the latest florid style,
strangely out of harmony with the simplicity of the Norman style which
prevails around. The nave and aisles 'are seventy-two feet in width and
204 feet in length. The choir, which is 183 feet in length, extends west-
ward considerably beyond the tower, is of unusual length, and imposing in
its effect. The transepts have been thrown open to the choir, much increas-
ing the accommodation for sittings and improving the general effect. The
chancel terminates with an apsis, in recesses of which formerly were the
stalls of the Bishop and clergy. The decorating of both nave and choir
is peculiarly beautiful ; the lantern of the tower, which rises in the semi-
circular arches, suppported by four massive piers, is handsome, but dis-
figured by painted medallions in the ceiling. A curious oriel for watching
at Easter remains in the north wall of the chancel. There are only two
tombs with statues ; one to Bishop Goldwell, and the other to Bishop
Bathurst, by Chantry. Mural monuments are numerous. Bishop Herbert
lies in the centre of the chancel.

Bishop Stanley lies in the middle of the nave. Sir William Boleyn,
great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth, is buried on the south side of the
choir. The cloisters are situated in the south of the nave, and form one
of the largest quadrangles in England, being 174 feet in length on each
side. They were 133 years in progress of erection, and are in excellent
preservation. Elaborately-sculptured bosses ornament the vaulted roofs.
Two lavatories are at the south-west corner. Several chapels yet remain,
but only one is fitted up for use. The Bishop's Palace is a small building,
of different dates, the cellars being the most ancient parts. Some ruins
exist of an ancient refectory, now overgrown with ivy. The Palace
garden is extensive, and contains some choice bits of antiquity standing
on the north side of the Cathedral, consisting of the remains of the Great

By a venerable gatehouse we enter the Cathedral Close. On our left is
the Grammar School ; on our right, rows of trees adorn a broad walk,
and overshadow a statue of Nelson that stands looking towards the school
where he was educated. Before us rises the western front of the Cathedral,
and this disappoints any highly-wrought expectations. But as we saunter
round the edifice, seeking the best points of view, we find one that gratifies
us at the south-west corner of the cloisters, looking diagonally across the
court towards the tower. Pausing here, we see that the opposite angle
appears to form an arched basement, supporting rows of arcaded recesses
and the lights of the transept and aisle, all black with age and smoke, and
seeming thereby the more sohd. As if borne up by all this, there comes


above a portion of the clerestory, seeming clear and brigiit by contrast ;
and brigliter still and brighter does the masonry become as it rises higher
into the air, attracting our eye up the ornamented tower to the light
pinnacles and tall crocketted spire. Seen when the shadows darken as
the sun drops low, this is one of the views that will constrain us to linger
until we can carry away the picture thereof in our memory.

We have the authority of architects for stating that the original Norman
plan of the Cathedral has been but little disturbed, which is somewhat
remarkable, as its erection extended over a period of 133 years. Its
pecuHarities are striking, great length imparting an appearance of unusual
narrowness, and the transepts answering by the boldness of their projection
to the prolongation of the nave. Cockerell, the Koyal Academician, speaks
of the admirable vaulted ceiling of the Cathedral " as the most beautiful
in its structure, order, tracery, and sculpture in England ;" and says that
" the ceiling and its sculptures were justly accounted a peculiar glory to
the Cathedral Church.'' He adds, however, " that not only the beauty
but the meaning of this remarkable series appears to have been equally
veiled from modern eyes." This reproach has been removed by a work
now published by Messrs. Sawyer and Bird, of Norwich, in which every
bay of the roof of the nave is photographed, whilst the more important
bosses are illustrated on a larger scale. The work also contains photographs
of the principal architectural features of the edifice. The Very Eev. the
Dean has written descriptions of the bosses to accompany the illusti'ations,
which are in the highest style of photographic art.

Norwich formerly contained nineteen monastic institutions, of which
Kirkpatrick wrote a full account, first published in 1 848 by the late Hudson
Gurney, Esq., edited by Dawson Turner, Esq. The following were the
principal buildings, of which some vestiges are still visible : — The Priory
and Church of St. Leonard at Thorpe-wood, near the city, in which

Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 28 of 70)