Record Details

NHER Number:226
Type of record:Building
Name:The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (Norwich Cathedral)

Summary

Situated on the low ground near the River Wensum, this magnificent cathedral is probably the county's best known landmark. Construction was begun in 1096 by Bishop Herbert de Losinga, and by the time of his death in 1119 the eastern end of the church, together with the transepts, tower and four bays of the nave west of the tower, were completed. His successor Eborard is said to have finished the work by the 1140s, though the final consecration took place as late as 1278. The building is of flint and mortar faced in limestone from Caen in France. This was transported up the River Wensum to Pull's Ferry and thence to the cathedral site along a canal, infilled in the 18th century and now Ferry Lane. The cathedral has lived through lightning strikes, fires and turbulent times; for instance, riots in 1272 destroyed the monastery and the cloisters, which were later rebuilt in stages until 1430. The most striking later addition is the late 15th century landscape-dominating spire, the second highest (96m) in England after Salisbury. Despite alterations, additions, depradations and even Victorian restorations during the last 900 years, the church has proved itself a great survivor, the nave, transepts, tower and the lower parts of the presbytery all still substantially Norman (though the roofs are replacements). It is open to the public all year round and has several daily services.

Images

  • A chantry chapel in Norwich Cathedral.  © Courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service.

Location

Grid Reference:TG 23490 08921
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

The Cathedral was officially started in AD 1096 but preparations and acquisition of land were taking place as early as AD 1084 when the Domesday Book refers to a gift of 14 houses to Bishop Herfast 'for the principal seat of the bishopric'. By the death of the founding bishop in 1119 the eastern arm, the crossings, transepts, four bays of the nave and the bishop's palace to the north had been completed. Bishop Eborard completes the building of the church and conventual buildings around the cloister to the south between 1121 and 1145. Major fires are recorded as having taken place in 1171, 1272, 1463 and 1509. A tempest in 1361/2 blew down the 12th century spire onto the presbytery clerestory and caused enough damage to require its rebuilding.
See (S1) for further details.
S. Howard (NLA), 16 June 2010.

Cathedral Priory, Benedictine. Founded 1096; additions and remodelling up to mid 19th century. See notes in file.
1895. Sherds found.
1899. Mortar found.
1865. Cauldron found.
1867. Late Saxon sherds found.
1889. Chapter house excavated.
1934, 1937, 1969. Excavations on west cloister range.
1972. Roman brick found.
1976. Human skeletons found.
1996. Evaluation excavation on cloister ranges.

See full details, architects drawings, surveys, references in file.

For the most comprehensive and recent account of the building, archaeology, history, topography etc. see (S2).
For other references, see file.
E. Rose (NLA), 20 January 1997.

1970s or 1980s. Norwich Survey.
See (S2), including (S3).
T. E. Miller (NLA), 7 July 2004.

2000.
Survey continued, concentrated mainly on the cloister which is due for conservation and restoration work as part of the new visitors' centre. Plans produced in 1998 are being supplemented by stone-by-stone elevations of both the interior and exterior, and by a three-dimensional vault plan of all 49 bays.

The south elevation of the south transept was in urgent need of stone replacement. By means of a relectorless EDM survey and recified photography a stone-by-stone elevation record was produced, which was then enhanced once caffolding had been erected. The vast majority of the stonework is Salvin's work of 1831 (as confirmed by a date on the string course), but a couple of courses of original medieval ashlar survive behind one of the low blind arcades.

The cathedral's roof vaults were surveyed for the installation of fire detection equipment. The intention was to identify the position of joints in the webbing, and use this information to excavate accurately down from the topside of the vault and locate the joint with detriment to the surround fabric. Once the joint was located the tiny clear pipe of a Vesda fire system was installed.
See (S19).
D. Holburn (HES), 14 November 2011.

July to October 2001. NAU excavation. From context 1000.
Excavation on the refectory.
Excavation for the Dean and Chapter revealed little evidence of the expected medieval structures except for a sunken masonry 'tank', but recorded several Late Saxon features pre-dating the Norman cathedral. These included a NorthEast-SouthWest street, evidence of timber buildings, and rubbish pits. Dissolution debris produced window glass and architectural fragments, whilst later activity was represented by the cellar of the prebendary's house and horticulteral works.
See (S18).
D. Holburn (HES), 21 October 2011.

2001.
The measured survey of the cathedral complex continued for a fifth year, the main focus being the cloister where conservation and restoration is scheduled. To aid this work, the elevations (both internal and external) and vaulting are being surveyed to supplement the floor plans made in 1998. Further detail has been given to the elevations by incorporating recified colour photographs. This method alows each stone to be identified for conservation or replacement, and its dimensions taken.

The major stimulus for the measured survey is the new Visitors' Centre due to be built on the site of the medieval refectory and hostelry. The refectory was excavated by the NAU in 2001, and a great deal of information previously hidden by garden deposits was exposed. By reducing the whole surface level by about 1 metre, a 46 metre long strip of the North and South elevation was revealed, and around 10 metres of the East 'high end'. These areas had escaped modern re-pointing work and thus held information about construction techniques. A series of rectified photographs were taken to capture this. Various features, including a plinth that ran the length of the North and South walls, and the bases of an East arcade, were also revealed. These were surveyed to enable the architects to allow for them in their design, but this recording will also aid future interpretation. A number of vertical sections were also taken through the site to give cross-sections through the cloister and dark entry, providing information about wall and vault thickness.
See (S17).
D. Holburn (HES), 21 October 2011.

2002.
Further excavation recorded Late Saxon features including a road, and Dissolution rubble including painted limestone blocks.
See (S16).
D. Holburn (HES), 14 October 2011.

2003.
Full survey of exterior of south transept.
E. Rose (NLA), 12 May 2004.

November 2004.
See file for list of Norwich Cathedral archives (S4) and (S5). Press cuttings (S6), architectural plans (S7) and correspondence (S8) in file.
See listing description (S9).
J. Allen (NLA), 18 November 2004.

Also see (S10).

2008. Norwich HEART. (S11, S12)
Described as an iconic Norman Cathedral and one of the most complete major Romanesque buildings in Europe
The Cathedral is the most complete Norman Cathedral in the UK and boasts a wealth of Romanesque features with later Gothic additions to create one of the most atmospheric sacred spaces in Europe.
The Cathedral has the second tallest spire (at 96m or 315ft, only Salisbury is higher) and the largest surviving cloister in England.
Norwich Cathedral also has the largest collection of decorative roof bosses in Christendom, 1,106 in total. They provided one of the earliest forms of theological education, at a time when illiteracy was common.
D. Gurney (NLA) 27 January 2009.

For the legend of St William, who is said to be buried in the Jesus Chapel, see (S13).
D. Gurney (NLA), 2 February 2009.

2010.
Hostry visitor centre and refectory due to be opened by the Queen in May 2010.
See (S14) for further details.
H. White (NLA), 31 March 2010.

See (S15) for archaeological assessment of Norwich Cathedral and Close.
S. Howard (HES), 5 May 2011.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CATHEDRAL (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 2050 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CELLAR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BRICK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CEREMONIAL OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOTTLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: FWQ.
---Aerial Photograph: TG2308 BK-BM,BT-BW,BAE.
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1993. TG 2308BEQ - BEU, BFB, BFC.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1994. TG 2308BFG.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). TG 2308BFS.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG 2308BDY - BEA.
---Publication: 2002. Norwich Cathedral Campaign Update. Spring.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Wallis, H. 2002. Norwich Cathedral Refectory. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 723.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Wallis, H. 2002. Norwich Cathedral Refectory Phase 3. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 733.
---Unpublished Document: Thomas, P.. 2004. Norwich Cathedral Architectural & Archaeological Archives.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. & Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 556.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. What did the Normans ever do for us?. 2 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. Heritage bosses hail cathedral refectory. 2 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. What did the Normans ever do for us?. 2 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The Norwich 12. 2 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Why Norwich is world class. 17 March.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Wander your way through 1,000 years of city history - Norwich 12.. 24 June 2010.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The second Norman invasion.. 28 July.
---Leaflet: Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 1936. Seventh Annual Report.. Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich.
---Leaflet: Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 1932. Third Annual Report.. Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich.
---Leaflet: Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 1935. Sixth Annual Report.. Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich.
---Leaflet: Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 1939. Tenth Annual Report.. Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich.
---Leaflet: Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 1938. Ninth Annual Report.. Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich.
---Leaflet: Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 1948. Nineteenth Annual Report.. Friends of the Cathedral Church of Norwich.
---Leaflet: Norwich Cathedral Dean And Chapter. 1976. Norwich Cathedral, A Short Guide.. Norwich Cathedral Dean And Chapter.
---Leaflet: Norwich Cathedral.. Jarrold Colour Publications, Norwich.
---Leaflet: ?. A Simple Guide For Visitors to Norwich Cathedral.. The Modern Press.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2004. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2003. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt III pp 573-588. p 582.
---Article in Serial: Marcus Binney. 2007. Norwich Cathedral.. Country Life. 13 December, p4.
---Article in Serial: Hall, M.. 1992. With the Eyes of Angels.. Country Life. Vol 24/31, pp 41-43.
---Article in Serial: Fernie, E.. 1983. The visual interpretation and analysis of medieval cathedrals.. Transactions of the ASCHB. Vol 8, pp 21-25.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. New wings for medieval tradition at cathedral. 2 April.
---Archive: Heywood S. (HES). 1993. Norfolk County Council Site Visit Record - The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (Norwich Cathedral).
---Article in Serial: Fernie, E. 1980. Norwich Cathedral. Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 310-312.
---Article in Serial: Whitingham, A. 1980. The Foundation of Norwich Cathedral. Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 313-314.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Shelley, A. 1996. An Evaluation and Survey at the South and West Ranges of Norwich Cathedral Cloisters. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 200.
---Article in Serial: McAleer, J. P. 1997. The Façade of Norwich Cathedral As It Might Have Been. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 481-491.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998: Addendum. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 386. p 386 (for 1995).
---Article in Serial: Fernie, E. C. 1977. The Romanesque Piers of Norwich Cathedral. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVI Pt IV pp 383-386.
---Article in Serial: Rose, M. 1994. Salome's Sword-Dance: A Note on a Roof Boss in the Vaulting of the South Transept of Norwich Cathedral. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 36 pp 61-65.
---Article in Serial: Rose, M. 1995. Netted Vice (A commentary on a choir-stall carving in Norwich Cathedral). CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 37 pp 54-61.
---Unpublished Document: NCM Staff. 1973-1989. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card - Norwich. Bursar's Office.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013. Secrets of medieval graffiti. 06/02/2013.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013. Cathedral hits the heights with its glorious roof bosses.. 25/07/2013.
---Publication: Norwich Cathedral Dean And Chapter. [unknown]. Twenty-five Treasures of Norwich Cathedral.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Gilchrist, R. 1996. A Desk-based Assessment of the Library and Dark Entry at Norwich Cathedral in advance of Proposed New Developments.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Gilchrist, R. 1996. An Archaeological Desk-based Assessment of Three Areas of Proposed New Development at Norwich Cathedral.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Smith, R. 1996. Norwich Cathedral. Evaluation of Standing Buildings in relation to Proposed New Development on the sites of the Former Hostry and Refectory.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Gilchrist, R. 1996. Norwich Cathedral Archaeology. Archaeological Report to accompany Planning Application for Visitors' Centre.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Michael Hopkins and Partners. 1998. The Norwich Cathedral Visitors' Centre. Application for Planning Approval. Michael Hopkins and Partners.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Michael Hopkins and Partners. 1997. Addendum Report to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England for Development Proposals at Norwich Cathedral. Michael Hopkins and Partners.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Gilchrist, R. 1999. Norwich Cathedral Archaeology. Archaeological Assessment to accompany Proposal for New Song School.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S.. Historic building report for Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk..
<S2>Unpublished Document: Carter, A.. Building Survey.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Atkinson. 1949?. Atkinson's Notebook.
<S4>Publication: Atherton, I. et al (eds). 1996. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Gilchrist, R.. 2006. Norwich Cathedral Close.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Press cuttings, various..
<S7>Graphic Material: Various. Various. Architectural plans..
<S8>Correspondence: Various.
<S9>Scheduling Record: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
<S10>Unpublished Document: Carter, A.. 1980. Survey of 34 Elm Hill, Norwich.
<S11>Monograph: Sheehan, B.. 2008. Norwich 12: A journey through the English city..
<S12>Projected and Video Material: Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART). 2008. Norwich 12. A journey through the English city.. DVD.
<S13>Newspaper Article: David. A. Berwick (Triangle Norwich). 2009. Local History Matters.. February 2009.
<S14>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Queen will officially open Hostry. 30 March.
<S15>Unpublished Document: Harris, R.. 2011. Norwich Cathedral and Close: Archaeological Assessment and Report.. January.
<S16>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2003. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2002. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 368-384. p 376.
<S17>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2002. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt I pp 162-177. p 170.
<S18>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2002. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt I pp 162-177. p 171.
<S19>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 720.

Related records

49102Parent of: Almary Green sewer repair, Norwich Cathedral (Monument)
26036Parent of: Bishop Renold's Chapel, The Close (Building)
26035Parent of: Bishop's Palace, The Close (Building)
26075Parent of: Deanery, Priors Hall, The Close (Building)
26079Parent of: Emmaus House, 65 The Close (Building)
441Parent of: Late Saxon human remains, Bishops Palace (Monument)
792Parent of: Multi-period finds and features north of cathedral (Monument)
Site 3340Parent of: Norwich Cathedral (Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity) (Monument)
Site 1793Parent of: The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (Monument)
Site 3967Parent of: The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (Monument)
45440Parent of: Watching brief during Cathedral sewer replacement (Monument)
377Part of: Cathedral Close (cathedral precinct) (Monument)
Mon 1459Part of: Cathedral Precinct (Monument)
39455Part of: Multi-period finds and features on the site of Norwich Cathedral Hostry (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 - 2017 Norfolk Historic Environment Service