Record Details

NHER Number:26113
Type of record:Building
Name:The Cloisters of the Great Hospital


These cloisters were built around 1450, of flint and brick rubble with ashlar dressings, and have a lead roof. They are part of a quadrangle adjoining the church of St Helen (NHER 588), the Refectory (NHER 26088) and the former Masters House (NHER 26021). There are a number of carvings in the spandrels of an east doorway, depciting the devices of Prior Molet (1453 - 1471) and Bishop Lyhart (1446 - 1470). A recent dendrochronological analysis of timbers from the cloister roof gave a date of between AD 1447 and 1463. Also included in this site are the cast iron railings that enclose the main forecourt and date to 1799.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 23725 09037
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Cloisters around 1450.
Flint and brick rubble with ashlar dressings; lead roof.
Quadrangle adjoining the church of St Helen Church refectory and former Master's House.
Lean-to roof on an arcade of four three-light flat headed windows each side, linked by a continuous hood mould. Stone benches. Blocked door at east corner. 15th century moulded arch on east side - blocked with brick, devices of Prior Molet (1453 - 1471) and Bishop Lyhart (1446 - 1470) in spandrels. Roof has roll-moulded wall plate, spine beam and principal rafters.
Information from (S1).
Former schedule (now descheduled) in file.

Dendrochronological date for cloister roof obtained; AD 1447-63.
See report in file for NHER 588.
E. Rose (NLA), 27 February 2003.

September to October 2006. Building survey.
Details to come.
J. Allen (NLA), 6 November 2006.

Also listed by English Heritage:
Forecourt railings, gates and gatepieces at The Great Hospital.
Forecourt railings,gates and gatepieces, 1799 by John Browne 'in accordance with Mr. Bird's plan' Hollow iron gate pieces with lattice panels and ball finials flank wrought iron double gates. Spearhead railings to left and right on stone dwarf wall have nine iron panels. Smaller gates to right and left flanked by(later) brick piers with ball finials.

See press cutting (S2) in file.
T. Sunley (NLA) 25 October 2007.

July 2010. Historic building recording.
The southern doorway of the eastern wall of the cloister at the Great Hospital in Norwich was recorded ahead of an application to widen the existing entrance and to establish whether there was any evidence for an earlier doorway into which the current doorway may have been inserted. The survey suggest that this is unlikely that an earlier doorway existed to the south but it is possible that one may have existed to the north.
See (S3).
S. Howard (NLA), 18 August 2010.

September 2012. Trial Trenching.
The excavation of a single trial trench within the footprint of the now-demolished laundry building revealed significant archaeological remains. These remains included walls thought to represent a chapel on the north side of St Helen’s church and a range building on the eastern side of the cloister. This existence of such a range building had previously been postulated due to the presence of block doors in the east wall of the cloister. It is thought likely that this range building was the hospital’s chapter house.
See report (S4) and NHER 49101 for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2011.383).
P. Watkins (HES), 11 August 2015. Amended 16 May 2019.

September 2012. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of the removal of render applied to the east elevation of the cloister (exposed following the demolition of the laundry block).
This work revealed neatly constructed courses of slim bricks that might be a facing of the suspected mid 15th-century construction of the cloister.
See report (S4) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 11 August 2015.

Monument Types

  • CLOISTER (15th Century to 21st Century - 1450 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF8022.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 118 [5].
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 278.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2000. Historic hospital in need of cash tonic. 24 October.
<S3>Monograph: Bridge, M. C. 2003. Tree-ring Analysis of Timbers from the Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich, Norfolk. English Heritage Research Department Report Series. 10/2003.
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Adams, D. 2012. Archaeological Evaluation at Site of Proposed Community Hall, adjacent to the Medieval Cloisters, The Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich. NPS Archaeology. 2180.

Related records

624Part of: Precinct of the Great Hospital (Monument)

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