Record Details

NHER Number:777
Type of record:Monument
Name:Castle Mall Development


Archaeological excavation, largely between 1989 and 1991, prior to and during the construction of the Castle Mall shopping centre in Norwich, was one of the largest of its kind in northern Europe. The work was designed to investigate not only the south bailey of Norwich Castle but also pre-Conquest settlement and, for the post-Conquest period, areas of the surrounding medieval city. Evidence was uncovered for Late Saxon houses and graveyards; the developing fortifications of the royal castle established before 1100; gradual encroachment by the townspeople into the castle precinct after the 13th century; documentation relating to the development of medieval properties; crafts and industries associated with these plots — notably bell-founding; a late medieval assemblage of great significance from the barbican well — ironwork, leather waste, bird and animal bone; and huge finds assemblages resulting from the steady infilling of castle ditches with domestic and commercial refuse.


  • A medieval gaming board found during the development of the Castle Mall, Norwich.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service. NWHCM L2001.1.7450:A
  • A medieval long cross penny, possibly of Edward I, found during excavations on the site of Castle Mall, Norwich.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service. NWHCM L2001.1.6929:A


Grid Reference:TG 2320 0838
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Excavations established that castle was constructed over the Late Saxon settlement.

Excavations revealed barbican and proto-barbican ditches, a 14th century well, and the barbican gatehouse demolished in 18th century. Castle bridge revealed to have 12th century origins.
Report to come.
E. Rose (NAU) 22 February 1993.

Soil from Castle Mall dumped at NHER 32108.
D. Gurney (NLA), 21 January 2002.

Excavation summarised in (S1). Full excavation report forthcoming (S2).
B. S. Ayers (NMAS), 25 May 2007

Castle Bridge excavation published in (S7).

See press cuttings (S3), (S4) and (S5) along with article from annual report (S6) in file.
T. Sunley (NLA) 8 November 2007.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • GRUBENHAUS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KILN (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARBICAN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BELL PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRIDGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCHYARD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GATEHOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COIN (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Monograph: Ashley, S. 2002. Medieval Armorial Horse Furniture in Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 101.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1992. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 1991. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt III pp 371-379. p 375.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Shelley, A. Dec 1991. Report of a Watching Brief at Shirehall Plain, Norwich, 1991. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 630.
---Unpublished Document: Shepherd, E. and Lentowicz, I. 1998. Norwich: cemeteries, radiocarbon dates & the ceramic sequence. Project Design.
---Slide: Various. 1988-1992. Slides 1-4512 Castle Mall, Norwich.
---Photograph: Laws-Chapman. K. C. 1987-1988. EFA-EFW.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Ayers, B. 1988. Norwich Castle Mall Excavation - The Trial Work 1988. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 58.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D (ed.). 1990. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1989. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt I pp 107-112. p 110.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1991. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1990. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt II pp 240-246. p 243.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Reeve, J. 1991. Summary Report of Excavations at Castle Mall, Norwich, June 1989-June 1991. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 68.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Photograph: FHM1-7.
<S1>Monograph: Ayers, B. S., Bown, J. and Reeve, J. 1992. Digging Ditches: Archaeology and Development in Norwich.
<S2>Monograph: Shepherd Popescu, E.. 2009. Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey 1987–98. East Anglian Archaeology.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 3 May 1991.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 28 Nov 1989.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 13 Aug 1991.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. 1991. Annual report.
<S7>Article in Serial: Shelley, A.. 1996. Norwich Castle Bridge. Medieval Archaeology. LX.

Related records

60Parent of: Medieval bailey and associated features, 7 Farmers Avenue (Monument)
434Parent of: Undated pottery sherds, Castle Hill (Find Spot)

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