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Bishop Herbert placed several monks ; also an Hospital for Lepers en-'
dowed by him ; the Hospital of St. Paul, founded in 1121, by the prior
and convent of Norwich ; a Nunnery dedicated to St. Mary and St. John,
and endowed for sisters of the Benedictine Order by King Stephen, who
in 1146 established a Convent at Carrow ; St. Edward's Hospital,
instituted in 1200 by Hildebrand de Mercer, a citizen of Norwich;
the Monastery of the Blackfriars, built by Sir Thomas Brpiugham in
the reign of Edward II., of which the ancient Church is now much
altered, and named St. Andrew's Hall ; the Monastery of the Grey Friars,
erected in 1226 by John de Hastingford, the site of which is now occupied
by Cook's Hospital, near Eose Lane ; the Monastery of White Friars,
founded in 1256 by Philip Congate, merchant, which remained near
White Friar's Bridge till the dissolution; the Convent of Augustine



A DESCRIPTION OF NOEWICH. 2'i7

FriarSj near King Street, established in the reign of Edward I, by one of
the bishops ; a Convent of Friars of the Order of " de poenitentia Jesu/*
instituted in 1266, and which, after the suppression of that Order, was
annexed to the Convent of Black Friars ; the College of St. Mary-in-the
Field, originally a Chapel-in-the-Field, founded in 1250 by Sir John de
Brun, or Broun, on the site of the present Assembly Rooms, and at the
time of the dissolution consisting of a Dean, four prebendaries, and others,
with a revenue of £86 16s. The last Dean obtained a grant of the College
from Henry VIII., and then sold the estate to the Duke of Norfolk, who
also obtained possession of most of the other monasteries. Vestiges of
several old hospitals have been traced in various parts of the city.
There are many crypts underground in King Street and other streets.
In King Street, to the south of St. Faith's Lane, were the Austin
Friars, and to the north of St. Faith's Lane the Grey Friars. Both these
monastic communities were said to have encroached on the adjacent
streets, churchyards, &c., by extending their precincts. The Carmelites
occupied the whole angle of the city between the river, the walls, and
Bargate Street. But few traces of these establishments now remain.
The case of the Black Friars is very different. Their magnificent Church
(now St. Andrew's Hall) is almost entire.

THE PARISHES AND CHURCHES.

The parishes are forty-five in number, including the hamlets, and
may bo divided into western, eastern, northern, and southern. They
are all intersected by streets in every direction, most of the streets
consisting of small houses, inhabited by poor people. The parishes
crossed by the best streets are central, and several of these streets present
good houses and shops, but these are few in number. Some of the
parishes are very large, others very small; and three or four churches
within hail of each other may be seen in one street.

Norwich contains more churches than any other city in England, except
London. Most of them are built of square flints. Many of them are
fine specimens of ancient architecture. Besides the Cathedral, there are
two or three specimens of the Norman style, and there are also some
examples of the decorated or florid, of the transition style, and also of
the perpendicular. This later English or perpendicular style, which
prevailed during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuiies, is the chief charac-
teristic of the city churches. Therefore it is unnecessary to describe
them all. The churches of St. Peter Mancroft, St. Giles', St. Andrew,
St. George Colegate, St. Saviour, and several others, are all in the later
English style.



218 HISTOKY OP EASTEEN ENGLAND.

The western district comprises the parishes aud churches of St. Peter
at Maucroft, St. Giles', St. Gregory, St. John's Maddermarket, St.
Benedict, St. Swithin, and St Lawrence. Nearly all the public buildings
are situated in this part of the town: the Guildhall, the Corn Hall in
Exchange Street, the Post Office, the Museum, the Free Library, and the
Literary Institution. The Post Office is a large building in Post Office
Street, near the Market Place. There are two deliveries from London
daily, and mails daily to all parts of the kingdom.

The Church of St. Peter Mancroft is the largest in the city, and one of
finest in the kingdom. It is a cruciform building in the later pointed
style, commenced upon the site of an older edifice in 1430, and completed
in 1455. It is 212 feet in length, 70 in breadth, and 60 in height. The
west tower is covered v/ith panelling of flint and stone, is 98 feet in
height, and contains a splendid peal of twelve bells ; the tenor alone
weighs two tons, and the entire weight of the peal is 9 tons 4 cwt. 24 lbs.
The best view of the exterior may be obtained from the south side, which
presents a view of the entire length of the edifice. The interior is
remarkably light and elegant ; the intervals between the arches of the
nave are ornamented with windows of exquisite design ; the windows are
large, and filled with excellent tracery; the east window is embel-
lished with stained glass, and has a magnificent effect. The west window
is remarkably fine, and the interior altogether is imposing. The clerestory
displays on each side seventeen obtusely-arched windows, filled with rich
perpendicular tracery. The windows of the aisles are large and light.
The roof is supported by fourteen slender clustered columns and lofty
arches. The vaulting shafts, which are brought down to the bottom of the
clerestory windows, have niches under them. In the vestry are some
ancient paintings of the saints. At the west end of the north aisle there
is a painting of the Delivery of St. Peter from Prison. Sir Thomas
Browne, who lived in the parish, lies buried in the church, which contains
numerous ancient monuments.

St. Andrew's Church is next in importance, and was founded before
the Conquest. The present structure was erected in 1500 ; it is in the
later pointed style, and consists of a nave and two side aisles. Slender
clustered columns and noble arches support the roof, and the whole is
enlightened by large windows with characteristic tracery. The clerestory
windows are light and obtuse arched. The tower is of great height, and
contains ten bells. There are several monuments in the church, which
has been recently restored and furnished with open benches.

St. John's Maddermarket is one of the most ancient churches in the
city, having been founded prior to the time of Edward the Confessor.
The present edifice was erected at the end of the fifteenth century, and



A DEvSCRlPTION OF NORWICH. 249

the east end has been lately re-built. It has a battlemented tower. The
interior of the church has been recently restored and beautified, at a cost
of £1,200.

St. Gregory's Church is an ancient building ; its precise date is
uncertain. The chancel was re-built in 1394. The structure consists
of a nave, with two aisles, and chapels at their east ends. The interior
has a light efiect, the arches being supported by slender pillars. The
altar, which has a wide passage under it, is adorned with curiously-carved
work on each side. A fine fj^esco painting of St. George and the Dragon
was discovered at the north-west corner. The tower contains a peal of
six bells.

St. Giles' Church is another fine edifice of early foundation, and was
re-built in the reign of Eichard II. The chancel was demolished by Dean
Gardiner in 1651, but has been recently re-built, and the Church restored.
The nave is eighty-one feet in length. The roof is supported by slender
pillars ; the south-west porch is groined with fan-like work, the only
instance of the kind in the city. The fine square tower is 126 feet high,
and has a dome or cupola surrounded by a battlement.

St. Lawrence Church stands upon the very spot which, before the
retreat of the river, was the quay for landing fish. Tliero is positive
evidence of this; for in 1018, Alfric, Bishop of East Anglia, having
bestowed his " Hagh " in Norwich (the very ground on which the Church
was afterwards built), on the Abbey of St. Edmundsbury, it paid a yearly
ground-rent of a last of herrings to that monastery. The Church was
founded in the time of the Confessor, but the present structure was not
erected till 1460. It is a fine regular building, with a noble tower 112 feet
high, surmounted by a battlement and pinnacles.

The eastern district comprises the parishes and churches of St. Peter
per Mountergate, St. Etheldred, St. Julian, St. Peter Southgate,
St. Helen, St. George Tombland, St. Peter Hungate, St. Michael-at-Plea,
St. Martin-at-Palace. The four first-named parishes are crossed by King-
Street, which is of great length, and inhabited by very poor people, who
live in yards and alleys, near two large breweries. The Church of St.
Peter per Mountergate was originally founded by Eoger Bigod, but the
present edifice was erected in 1406. It consists of a nave and chancel,
with embattled west tower. In the chancel are twenty-four stalls, with
singular carvings, which belonged to a college of secular priests, situated
at the north-west corner of the churchyard.

This eastern side of the city has been much improved by the formation
of a new road called Prince of Wales's Road, from the Castle Hill to the
Foundry Bridge, near the Railway Station. Handsome houses have been
built on each side of the new road, and broad pavements laid down.



250 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

This is now the thoroughfare to aud from the Railway Station at Thorpe.
The Railway Station here occupies an area of about fifty acres ; the
buildings are merely a series of sheds.

The northern district extends from the north-west to the north- east side
of the river Wensum, comprising the parishes and churches of St. Michael-
at-CosIany, St. Martin-at-Oak, St. Augustine's, St. Mary's, St. George's
Colegate, St. Clement, St. Saviour, St. Paul, St. Edmund, and St. James.
On this north side we enter the oldest part of the city, which seems to
have been always chosen by' the poorest portion of the population. All
the parishes are crossed by streets and lanes in every direction, and
most of the streets present very humble dwellings, many of them in
narrow courts and alleys. The greatest improvement in this part of the
city would be effected by the demolition of old houses in courts and
alleys which are the haunts of disease.

St. Michael-at-Coslany (commonly called St. Miles) is a spacious Church
with a lofty square tower and eight musical bells. The nave was re-built
by John and Stephen Stallon, who were Sheriffs in 1511 and 1512. The
south aisle was begun by Gregory Clark, and was finished by his son.
At the east end of the south aisle there is a Chapel founded by Robert
Thorp in the reign of Henry VII., encrusted with black flints like inlaid
work. The altar piece by Heins represents the Resurrection and the
four Evangelists ; and the floor is paved with black and white marble,
brought from the domestic chapel at Oxnead, in Norfolk.

The southern district is extensive and populous, aud includes the
parishes and churches of St. Stephen's, St. John's Timberhill, St. John
Sepulchre, St. Michael at Thorn, St. Mark's in Lakenham, and the Old
Church in Lakenham. The principal streets are Rampant Horse Street,
Theati-e Street, St. Stephen's Street, Surrey Street, and Ber Street, one
of the oldest in the city. The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is at the top
of St. Stephen's Street. The far-famed Norwich Union Fire and Life
Insurance Office is in Surrey Street. Chapel Field, in this quarter, is an
open space of eight acres, well planted with trees and enclosed by an iron
palisade. The Drill Hall, for the use of the Volunteer Rifle Corps, stands
in the north-west corner of the field. It is a spacious building, often used
for civil as well as military purposes. It is no ornament to the locality in
an architectural point of view, having more the appearance of a large shed
than anything else.

St. Stephen's Church was founded before the Norman Conquest, but
has been all re-built at different periods ; the chancel in 1520, and the
nave in 1550. It is one of the most modern of the city churches, and is
an edifice in the late perpendicular style of the sixteenth century, with a
nave and elerestoiy, two side aisles^ and a square tower. The windows



A DESCRIPTION OL' NOEWlCH. iiorl

arc large and numerous; some of them are new. In 1859, the interior
was thoroughly restored at a cost of £1500, and a new carved pulpit and
reading desk were put up at the same time. Five new windows were
lately inserted in each side of the Chui'ch, and one over the south door of
the chancel.

Nonconformists are numerous in the city, and have many chapels,
several being of large size. Independents have the Old Meeting House
in yt. George's Colegate, Prince's Street Chapel, and the Chapel in the
Field. Baptists have St. Mary's Chapel, St. Clement's Chapel, and several
others. United Free Methodists have Calvert Street Chapel ; Wesleyans,
St. Peter's Chapel and a new one in Ber Street. Primitive Methodists,
Dereham Eoad Chapel. The Presbyterian Church is in Theatre Street.
The Unitarians have the Octagon Chapel in St. George's Colegate. The
Free Church is in the chancel of St. Andrew's Hall. The Apostolic
Church is in Queen Street. The Tabernacle is in St. Martin's at Palace.
The Roman Catholics have a Chapel in St. John's Maddermarket and
another in Willow Lane. The Jews have a Synagogue in St. Faith's Lane.

NORWICH CASTLE.

Alexander Neville, who published his book called '' Norwicus," soon
after the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, gives an account of an
ancient British castle, built on a mound, partly the work of nature and
partly of art. He says this stronghold was founded by Gurguntus, the
twenty-fourth King of Britain after Brutus, and it was called Kaer
Guntum, or the Castle of Guntus. However, the founder of it died
before it was finished. But Guthelinus's successor completed the work
which he had begun, and fortified it with a wall, bank, and double
ditches. Moreover, he made certain subterranean vaults to the castle, and
changed its name to Kaer Guthelm, or the Castle of Guthelmen.

This account appears to be only traditional, but a castle was certainly
built in the Anglo-Saxon period, probably by the first King of the East
Angles. Sir Henry Spelman, in his ^^ Icenia," wrote that if the city Avas
called Northwic or Norwich from the Castle, then the Castle is very
ancient, and perhaps older than the city where it is built. Though he
believed the present structure to bo the work of the Danes or Normans,
he adduces evidence that there was a more ancient Castle, for a charter
proved that guard service was due to it about a.d. 677 by Tombert, Prince
of the Girvy. Mr. John Kirkpatrick, in his *^' Notes," says that the
Castle of Norwich was also of ample extent before the coming of the
Normans, appears from hence, that in Domesday we read, " there were
eighty-one mansions empty in the occupation of the Castle." Also ^'this
Castle of Norwich seems then to have been noble, and as the metropolis



252 HISTORY OP EASTEKN ENGLAND.

of the province of the Iceni^ to which that famous Prince of the Girvy
(Tonibert), and so considerable a guard of the Isle of Ely^ if not the
whole^ were to do service^ and to have first of all belonged to the East
Angle Kings, afterwards to the governors, called aldermen, dukes, or
carls. '^ After alluding to cases of castle guard service, the learned
antiquary before quoted continues : " So that it seems all the land in the
nation was either assigned to bear, or was upon occasion chargeable with,
the castle guard of some castle or other in ancient times. The Castle of
Dover had a garrison of 1000 men, and other castles in England were
defended in like manner as that of Norwich by the knights who held so
many fees, on condition to ward a certain number of weeks, which
services were at length generally turned to contributions in money."

Mr. John Kirkpatrick adduces ample evidence that this Castle of
Norwich was often repaired by order of the Kings of England. There-
fore, he infers that it was a Royal Castle, and that Camden is mistaken
in supposing it to have been built by Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk.
Camden, indeed, conjectured that Hugh Bigod was the founder from the
lions cut in the stonework of the Castle, and he took those lions for arms,
but the only lions to be seen were on each side of the entrance, and if
designed for arms they may have been in allusion to the King's arms,
which were two lions only in ancient times.

The style of architecture has been a matter of dispute, as to whether it
is Saxon, Danish, or Norman. Mr. Boid in his history and analysis of the
principal styles of architecture, ventures to challenge any one to prove
the existence of any building in this country exhibiting real Saxon skill,
but the terms Saxon or Norman are only applied to certain periods. Mr.
Wilkins, of Norwich, who has described both the ancient and modern
states of the fortress in volume twelve of the "Archa3ologia,'' believed, how-
ever, that the part which yet remains might have been constructed in the
reign of Canute, but that it is, notwithstanding, in the style of architec-
ture practised by the Saxons long before England became subject to the
Danes, and is the best exterior specimen of the kind. Other and later
writers, with much better evidence, believe the whole keep to be Norman
work of the time of William Rufus, for it is similar in style to Castle
Rising, built in the reign of that King by Albini. The earthworks and
stoneworks are very similar of both castles. The whole of the exterior
of the keep of Norwich Castle has been re-faced, the original style being-
preserved, but not the aspect of hoar antiquity.

Mr. Wilkins supposed that the Castle was surrounded by three ditches,
which were crosed by three bridges, but no remains have been traced of
the two outer ditches, and of course, if there was only one ditch to cross,
the present bridge was the only one that ever existed. Mr. Harrod



A DESCRIPTION OF NORWICH. 253

proved that ancient buildings always stood on the sites of the supposed
outer ditches_, and that there was only one ditch and one bridge, which
still exist. At the termination of this bridge, upon the upper balliuni,
are the remains of two circular towers, fourteen feet in diameter, which
are supposed to have flanked the portal of the ballium wall.

The county prison stands on the mound on the east side of the keep,
and consists of a range of buildings erected between 1824 and 1828 at a
cost of £15,000. It comprises a governor's house, and three radiating
wings, and cells for 224 male prisoners. From the prison, there is a shaft
descending to the bottom of the mound, whence there is a passage to the
Crown Coui-t, and prisoners are brought down the shaft for trial.

High on a central mound the Castle stands overlooking all the city.
Blanchflower its admirers delighted to call it in the Norman iron age.
From the Castle Walk we survey the old city, and are at once struck by
the depth of the basin in which Norwich is built, and by the height of the
hills which hem it in on the north and east, their green slopes and fringe
of trees contrasting pleasantly with the crowded mass of towers, churches,
tall chimneys, and houses.

We take our position on the eastern side, and survey the broad vale of
the Yare where the Romans came up in their galleys and landed on that
side of the river, then a broad arm of the sea. We see where the first
street (King Street) extends for a mile southward the whole length of the
city, with tall chimneys of great breweries sending forth volumes of
smoke, and the Churches of St. Peter per Mountergate, St. Etheldred, St.
Julian, and St. Peter Southgate. Northward the same street extends to
an open space called Tombland, once a burial ground, beyond which
Wensum Street and Magdalen Street lead in a straight hue to Catton.

More eastward we see Mousehold Heath, a wild recreation ground for
the citizens, rising high from the valley , and the circle of vision includes
the Hamlet of Thorpe, with its wooded heights, the Cathedral, and
several churches. Walking round to the west side we have before us the
spacious Market Place and the noble Church of St. Peter Mancroft, Avith
a mass of buildings. Here in the foreground the old Guildhall is a con-
spicuous object. More to the north the principal objects in view are St.
Andrew's Hall, the Church towers of St. Michael Coslany, St. Martin-at-
Oak, St. Mary, St. Augustine, St. George's Colegate, St. Clement, and
others.

THE SHIEEHALL,

On the Castle Meadow, was erected from a plan by William Wilkin, Esq.
It was commenced on September 9tli, 1822, and opened September 27th,
1833, and is a poor imitation of the Tudor style of architecture. It stands



254 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

on the nortli-east side of the Castle, and is a substantial brick edifice, af-
fording all the usual accommodations : Crown Court, Nisi Prius Court,
and rooms for witnesses and others. The County Assizes and Sessions
are held in these Courts. The Grand Jury room is a large apart-
ment, and the walls are adorned with fine portraits of the late Lord Lei-
cester and Lord Wodehouse, painted by Sir T. Lawrence! There is also
a portrait of the late Henry Dover, Esq., for many years Chairman of the
Quarter Sessions.

ST. Andrew's hall

Stands in the centre of the city. It was built by the famous Sir Thomas
Erpingham, and is a fine old ecclesiastical structure, originally the Church
of the Blackfriars monastery. At the reformation and suppression of
religious houses, the city Corporation obtained the transfer of this hand-
some edifice for the sum of £80 ! Since then it has been used as a public
hall for all kinds of meetings, and for the celebrated Musical Festivals.
The Hall is of perpendicular architecture, and has been recently restored
and beautified. The roof is of open timber, and is supported by two rows
of graceful pillars which divide the nave and aisles. The walls are adorned
with many portraits of the city worthies, attired in their ancient civic
robes. Portraits by famous painters — Lawrence, Gainsborough, Opie —
hang all around ; and among them the place of honour is assigned to that
of Nelson by Sir William Beechey. Whatever be the merits of the other
paintings, this is the one most admired by the natives of Norfolk. What
to them are civic functionaries and kings and queens, by the side of such
a hero ? In all her roll of worthies. Nelson's is the name which Norfolk
most delights to honour.

the guildhall.

An ancient specimen of flint work, stands in the north-west comer of the
spacious Market-place. The Council Chamber is a handsome room fitted
up with furniture of the period of Henry VIII. A glass case encloses a
naval trophy in honour of Lord Nelson, being the sword of the Spanish
Admiral, Xavier Winthuysen, presented by the Norfolk hero to the Cor-
poration. The original letter accompanying the sword is enclosed in the
case. The City Assizes and Sessions are held in the Court below. The
magistrates hold Petty Sessions daily in their room.

THE NORWICH PUBLIC LIBRARY

Was founded in 1 784, and is now located in a spacious room, built for the
purpose in 1837, at the end of an avenue opposite the Guildhall. The



A DESCRIPTION OV NORWICH. 255

library contains about 30,000 volumes. The yearly subscription is twentj-
one shillings paid by shareholderSj and twenty-aix shillings paid by
others.

THE NORFOLK AND NORWICH MUSEUM

Is located in a building erected in 1839 in Broad Street, St. Andrew's. It
has been much enlarged, and the institution is in a very flourishing con-
dition, containing numei'ous specimens in geology, zoology, and ornitho-
logy. A large new room in the adjoining building is filled with specimens
of British birds, contributed by J. H. Gurney, Esq., whose portrait adorns
the room.

THE NORFOLK AND NORWICH LITERARY INSTITUTION

Is located in the upper part of the same building as the Museum. In
1822 it was established, and the rooms contain more than 20,000 volumes
in the various departments of literature. The annual subscription of
shareholders is a guinea-and-a-half, and of others two guineas.

THE FREE LIBRARY

Is a large building at the corner of St. Andrew's Broad Street, erected
in 1856 and opened in 1857, under the Free Libraries and Museum Act,
by the Corporation, at a cost of £10,000. It includes rooms for the Free
Library, the Literary Institution, and the School of Art. The Free
Library in the lower room contains about 4000 volumes, and the old



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 29 of 70)