Record Details

NHER Number:428
Type of record:Monument
Name:Second Precinct of Dominican Friary, Blackfriars, St Andrew's Hall


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 the Penitents' buildings, 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 2313 0882
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Description and detailed plan of complex in file. Second precinct acquired by the Dominican Friars in 1307. The first was north of the river at NHER 381.
This precinct includes NHER 176, NHER 194, NHER 827.

1991. Evaluation excavation within cloister.
Revealed redeposited Late Saxon pottery and medieval areas of levelling.
See (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 17 December 1991.

1992. Watching brief/excavation.
Revealed cobbled surface of original route of Elm Hill with traces of burning.
See NAU report (S2) and press cutting (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 4 September 1992.

July 1992. Evaluation prior to remedial work to foundations of 19th century staircase turret on west side of Cloister Garth.
Hand excavation of medieval and post medieval deposits.
P. Emery (NAU), 4 December 1992.

21 December 1993. Field observation of sewerage pipe trench.
No further recording as trench cut through modern rubble make up layer.
No artefacts recovered. Plan in file.
M. Smith (NAU), 21 December 1993.

April 1995. NAU watching brief during excavation by contractors of a test pit adjacent to west wall of St Andrews Hall, immediately south of door to south cloister walk.
Foundations planned and photographed, also the mortared flint core and limestone facing of a north-south wall.
P. Emery (NAU), 13 August 1996.

4 September 1998. Watching brief. Context 34 used.
On channels cut through modern floor for electrical works in south cloiser of hall, 19th century patterned tile pavement exposed to east of entrance.
S. Tremlett (NAU), 9 March 2000.

September 1999. Observations of work in south cloister range.
19th century tiled pavement found beneath 20th century concrete.
(S4) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 24 November 1999.

2006. Watching Brief.
Two wall foundations were revealed; one on the same orientation as the frontage of Prince's street, some 4m to the south, constructed from brick and flint cobbles bound by a lime mortar. The other, orientated NE-SW, was constructed from brick bound by a lime mortar.
Awaiting Report.
See (S15) for further information.
D. Holburn (HES), 21 September 2011.

May 2007. Excavation. Contexts 50-65.
Ten small 'slots' were excavated prior to the installation of two bicycle stands, one located next to the Monastery Court car park and the other on the western side of the eastern range of St. Andrew's Hall. Although Cycle Stand 1 was believed to be located beyond the northern range of the demolished Friary, a masonry structure was recorded at the base of three of the excavated slots. This may have been either a wall or a floor of one of the post medieval buildings depicted on several 19th century maps (S6-S8). Alternatively, it may have been part of the monastic reredorter which Sutermeister (S9) suggested was located immediately north of the east wing of the Friary. The structure was overlain by a layer of rubble, likely derived from the destruction of a masonry structure. Cycle Stand 2 was located only a few meters from the 1991 excavation trenches and revealed similar levelling deposits to those recorded in 1991. Finds included two sherds of medieval to post medieval pottery, one post medieval pottery sherd, one oyster shell and a single goose bone.
Information from (S5).
See also (S10) and (S11)
H. Hamilton (NLA), 26 February 2008.

October-November 2008. Evaluation, contexts 100-262 used.
Trench 1 was located to the north of the complex, in the car park. The earliest feature present was a large pit or cluster of pits which appeared to cover the entire base of the trench. Burnt clay flecks, animal bone and pottery sherds dating from the 12th century were recovered from the fill, suggesting some type of industrial origin. The pit/ pits were cut to the south by a large, well defined pit with a depth of at least 3.30m. small numbers of animal bones and pottery sherds were recovered from the fill.
Trench 2 was also located in the north. A number of pits were identified in the base of this trench, and produced medieval pottery and two 15th-16th century jettons.
Trenches 3 & 4 were located in the garden to the south of St. Andrews hall. A pit was identified and a sherd of 12th-13th century pottery was recovered from its fill. A larger pit covered most of the western half of the evaluation trench. It was interpreted as a quarry pit. A brick wall of probable post- eighteenth century date was aligned north- south along the centre of the trench.
Trench 4 recovered fragments of brick and tile, and a copper alloy bell were recovered from a layer of sand clay. A small circular pit produced 16 sherds of 16th-18th century pottery. The north western corner of a cellar was present within the trench. It was built from flint with a small proportion of brick and limestone and bonded with lime mortar. A modern brick wall was noted in the eastern section of the trench.
See (S12) for further information.
See also (S14).
H. White (NLA), 20 February 2009.

November 2008. Ground penetrating radar survey.
Several masonary footings were interpreted from the data, at approximately 600mm below the surface and were 800mm in width. Based on excavation findings in trench one (see S12) these featured have been dated to the medieval or early post- medieval period. Narrower foundations may be more recent, which is again reflected in the excavation report. A shallow drainage network and soakaway in the south- west corner of the survey were also identified.
See (S13) for further details.
H. White (NLA), 2 March 2009.

Monument Types

  • FEATURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR? (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FRIARY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FRIARY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HEARTH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL? (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CELLAR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • BIRD REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROTAL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • JETTON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LACE TAG (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SCABBARD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP END (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STUD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PURSE (Medieval - 1400 AD to 1500 AD)
  • CLOTH SEAL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HANDLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • JETTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MOUNT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MUSKET BALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: FXP.
---Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.
---Article in serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1993. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1992. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt IV pp 522-532. p 529.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. & Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England.
---Article in serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1992. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 1991. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt III pp 371-379. p 376.
---Unpublished document: Adams, D.. 2009. NAU Archaeology Report No. 1414. An Archaeological Evaluation at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich..
---Article in serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 2007. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2006. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt II pp 261-273. p 269.
---Article in serial: Woodman, F. 1980. The Blackfriars, Norwich. Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 316-317.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 1-58.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Unpublished document: Andrews, P. 1991. NAU Report No. 55. Report of Archaeological Evaluation at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich.
<S2>Unpublished document: Wallis, H. 1992. NAU Report No. 53. Watching Brief at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. Blackened cobbles shed light on history. 4 September.
<S4>Unpublished document: Evans, H.. 1999. NAU Report No. 450. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich..
<S5>Unpublished document: Crawley, P.. 2008. NAU Report No. 1319. An Archaeological Excavation in advance of new Bicycle Sheds at Blackfriars' Garth..
<S6>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1885. Ordnance Survey first edition maps of Norwich, reproduced in 1971 and reduced to a scale of 1:1250..
<S7>Map: Musket, C.. 1849. Map of Norwich.
<S8>Map: Jarrold. 1848. Map of Norwich.
<S9>Monograph: Sutermeister, H.. 1977. The Norwich Blackfriars.
<S10>Photograph: NAU Archaeology. 2007. MPA.
<S11>Slide: Various. Slide. 59-89.
<S12>Unpublished document: Adams, D.. 2009. NAU Archaeology Report No. 1414. An Archaeological Evaluation at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich..
<S13>Unpublished document: Archer, T.. 2008. NAU Archaeology & Arrow Geophysics Report No. 104-08. A Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of Land Adjoining St Andrew's Hall, Norwich..
<S14>Article in serial: Gurney, D & Hoggett, R. 2009. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2008. Norfolk Archaeology. XLV Part IV pp 570-578. p 577.
<S15>Article in serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 2007. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2006. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt II pp 261-273. p 269.

Related records

Site 2635Parent of: 1 St Georges Street (Monument)
Mon 6Parent of: Blackfriars Friary (Monument)
Site 2140Parent of: Blackfriars Hall (Monument)
835Parent of: Medieval pottery finds, south porch of St Andrew's Hall (Find Spot)
126Parent of: Medieval quay and finds, 1 St George's Street (Monument)
Mon 120Parent of: New Hall (Monument)
827Parent of: South porch of St Andrew's Hall (Monument)
194Parent of: St Andrew's and Blackfriars' Halls, Norwich (Building)
26370Part of: 4 and 6 Princes Street (with 2 to 4 Elm Hill). (Building)

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