Record Details

NHER Number:176
Type of record:Monument
Name:Part of Dominican Friary complex, 1 St George's Street


The second site acquired by the Dominicans or Black Friars, the first having been north of the river (NHER 381). The site had previously been settled by the Friars Penitential or Friars of the Sack, but when they were suppressed in 1307, the Dominicans received a licence to move in, using some of the Penitents' buildings, two of which, Beckett's Chapel and the Crypt, still survive today. The earliest part of the friary built by the Dominicans is the Cloisters, probably constructed between 1310 and 1320. The extension bays built on the west end of the south open cloister space were probably not completed until 1345 when the Friars gained permission to close the lane running across their site from Elm hill to St George's Street. The first church on the site was destoyed by fire in 1413 and the surviving building is essentially of 1440 to 1470, consisting of a large preaching nave (now St Andrew's Hall) and a private chancel for the Friars (now Blackfriars Hall). These were divided by a walkway leading directly from the exterior to the cloister. Originally the walkway was topped by a polygonal tower, but this collapsed in 1712. The paved space south of the nave was an open preaching yard. The buildings as they stand today are the most complete friary structures surviving in this country. This is because when the Friary was dissolved in 1538 the buildings were bought by the city council and the nave converted to an public hall (and therefore somewhat altered). The chancel has not been so much changed and is architecturally the most impressive part. The whole complex has remained the property of the city ever since. The nave and chancel are now used for concerts, exhibitions, book fairs and the like. The Cloisters, modernised, have exhibitions and an antiques market, and the crypt is now a coffee bar.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2309 0883
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

1974. Excavation by [1] for Norwich City Council of the north range of Blackfriars uncovered the north range of the Dominican Blackfriars complex.

May 1975. Excavation of the Chapter House.
Small part of a 14th century tile floor.

September 1975. Rebuilding of west wall of Chapter House revealed green and yellow glazed floor tiles.

1976. Excavation by [2] for Norwich Survey revealed range of buildings north of the main claustral range.

1974. 11th century residual Thetford-type Ware found during the excavation of the north claustral range.

Further details in file.

Monument Types

  • FRIARY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PULPIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Serial: 1974. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries for 1974. No 21. p 7.
---Monograph: Jennings, S. 1981. Eighteen Centuries of Pottery from Norwich. East Anglian Archaeology. No 13.
---Record Card: NCM Staff. 1973-1989. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card - Norwich.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Unpublished Document: Roberts, J. P. 1975. [Norwich Survey] Excavations in Norwich 1974.

Related records

428Part of: Second Precinct of Dominican Friary, Blackfriars, St Andrew's Hall (Monument)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2021 Norfolk Historic Environment Service