Record Details

NHER Number:49101
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval and post-medieval remains and site of Great Hospital Laundry

Summary

A building survey was carried out in 2006 which showed that the laundry is built up to the exterior of the east wall of the medieval cloisters. A trench excavated in 2006 revealed the in-situ remains of a probable post medieval floor that must belong to an earlier building. A second trial trench excavated on the site of the laundry in 2011 revealed much more significant and extensive archaeological remains. The earliest deposit encountered was an organic riverine mud that was sealed by material lain down to consolidate the area prior to the construction of the Great Hospital complex. Several walls were identified, the earliest of which were thought to be associated with a medieval chapel attached to the north wall of St Helen’s church (NHER 588). It is unclear when this chapel was built, although the presence of brick in the fabric of walls suggests a construction date no earlier than the early 1300s. Two further walls were probably associated with a range building located along the east wing of the cloister, the existence of which had previously been postulated. It is possible that this range was occupied by the hospital’s chapter house.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 23737 09040
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

September-October 2006. Building Survey and Trial Trench.
Historical building assessment undertaken prior to development of site and demolition of the laundry building. A single evaluation trench was also excavated. Contexts 1-30.
This work showed that the laundry is built up to the exterior of the east wall of the medieval cloisters. A trench revealed in-situ remains of a floor relating to a building of probable post-medieval date and similar remains may survive beneath the laundry. There were also indications of a demolition layer beneath this observed floor that must belong to an earlier building on or close to this location.
See report (S1) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S2).
J. Allen (NLA), 9 March 2007.

September 2012. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of proposed redevelopment site (Trench 5). Single trench excavated within footprint of demolished laundry block.
A small sondage at one end of the trench exposed river terrace sands and gravels at a depth of c. 0.42m O.D, overlain by a layer of organic mud. Environmental samples taken from this waterlogged deposit demonstrated the preservation of organic remains and the presence of microfossils such as diatoms, spores and pollen. This riverine deposit was sealed by compacted chalk and mortar deposits presumably lain down prior to or during the construction of the Great Hospital complex (although it is unclear whether this material related to the initial phase of construction or the subsequent erection of the cloister and its associated buildings). This consolidation material was overlain by a number of walls, believed to represent the remains of a chapel and a range building to the north. Although the stratigraphic relationships between these structural elements were not entirely clear it was thought that the earliest walls were associated with the Lady Chapel, known to have originally stood to the north of St Helen’s church. Although primarily built of flint cobbles some brick was also noted in the fabric of these walls, one of which was associated with a possible buttress.
The probable range building was associated with a substantial north-to-south aligned wall that closely (but not quite exactly) followed the line of the east wall of the probable chapel to the south. A brick-lined niche appeared to be a small fireplace built into the western elevation of this wall.
A much narrower east-to-west wall was located at the southern end of the main north-to-south aligned wall of the range building. This smaller wall was made of a flint mortar that was notably different in colour to that of the other walls. An inset area of brick was identified close to the eastern end of this wall, the purpose of which was uncertain.
The probable range building was associated with at least two floor layers, one of which was a distinctive ferruginous sand. Two areas of infilling were probably associated with doorways.
A pit and a layer of firm silty sand were probably associated with a subsequent, post-medieval phase of activity.
The finds recovered from this trench mainly came from the modern overburden and included a small assemblage of medieval, medieval/post-medieval and post-medieval pottery sherds, a medieval brick, post-medieval clay tobacco pipe and several medieval and post-medieval metal objects.
See report (S3) for further details.
See NHER 61176 for information on the trenches excavated to the west of Prior Court (Trenches 1-4).
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2011.383).
P. Watkins (HES), 10 August 2015. Amended 16 May 2019.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLOOR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • MOUNT? (Unknown date)
  • NAIL (Unknown date)
  • SHEET (Unknown date)
  • WASTE (Unknown date)
  • WEIGHT (Unknown date)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOUNT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • JETTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2006. Report on an Historic Building Assessment at The Great Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB065R.
<S2>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 2007. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2006. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt II pp 261-273. p 268.
<S3>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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