Record Details

NHER Number:384
Type of record:Monument
Name:Norwich City Defences

Summary

Norwich’s City walls were built around 1294-1343 and no houses were built outside the wall until 1779 -89. The walls incorporate a number of towers such as the Boom Tower, Cow Tower and Black Tower. The western Boom Tower contains an 18th century coke oven. The Black Tower was traditionally the residence of the Constable and was also used for plague victims in the 16th century. During the English Civil War three of the city’s gates (St Augustine’s, Conesford and Bishop’s) were blocked up with earth. Research into the defences show that the Boom Towers, like the rest of the walls, gradually fell out of serious use, becoming monuments in the landscape, valued for their picturesque character and historical interest. Archaeological deposits may have been limited in this area since the inside of the walled circuit was deliberately kept open for access in the Middle Ages.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2318 0862
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

Precinct number.
'The land of the ditches which is between the wood and the water'.
City walls. Built around 1294-1343.
No houses built outside wall until 1779 - 89.
E. B. Green (NCM).

See full details in file.

Alan Carter Building Survey.
1968: (S1) Photographs showing views of the wall in Barn Road, Fiskers Lane, Chapel Field Road and St. Stephen's Gate.
1975: Detailed information on the city walls and gates. (S2) details repairs made to the city walls and gates from 1590 onwards, including information on the materials used in the repairs and the sources of these materials. (S3) looks at the Black Tower, Carrow Hill and Butter Hill. (S4) is a more detailed write up of the city gates: Conidford Gates, Barzon Gates, St Stephen's Gate, St Giles's Gate, St Benedict's Gate, Heigham Gates, St Martin-at-Oak Gates, St Augustine's Gates, Magdalen Gates, Pockthorpe Gates and Bishop Gate. (S5) is some brief notes on the Cow Tower and (S6) is a general history of the city walls.
See information in file.
K. Robbins (NLA), 26 October 2008.

The western Boom Tower contains a 19th century coke oven. This has now been re-dated as 18th century and is an important early example. See scheduling update in file and (S7).

See survey of Black Tower (S8) by R. Smith (NAU) in file, 1995. This indicates evidence for former vault on central pier in ground floor; restoration work in 19th century to remove traces of 18th century snuff mill; and notes that this tower and that down the slope to the east both have arrowslits facing the city, which author suggests may indicate there was originally no wall between them. Traditionally this tower was the residence of the Constable and was also used for plague victims in the 16th century - neither of these aspects figure in the report.
E. Rose (NLA) 24 July 1996.

July 1997. NAU excavation.
Excavation at Chapelfield Road/Coburg Street (former) to assess condition of wall foundation revealed a layer containing post medieval brick apparently passing under wall and bank. Is this part of the rebuilding of 1727?
See report (S9) in file.
E. Rose (NLA) 10 September 1997.

Reference (S10) notes that St Augustines, Conesford and Bishops Gates were blocked up with earth in the Civil War until 1643. Seven earth bulwarks were planned along the wall and a breastwork along the river from the Boom Tower to the Cow Tower, but these were probably never constructed.
E. Rose (NLA) 5 November 1998.

Observations of renovations of 218-242 Queen Road in 1999 by C. Phillips (NAU) revealed what seemed to be the city wall but 5m south of the line of the wall as marked by the OS.
See NHER 26147.
E. Rose (NLA) 4 Jan 1999.

2 August 1995. NLA air photography.
Stretches of the city wall, Black Tower and Boom Tower all visible.
S. Massey (NLA) 3 August 2001.

2002.
Excavation revealed details of the wall and its development.
See (S22).
D. Holburn (HES), 14 October 2011.

A desk based assessment was undertaken on a short stretch of the riverside next to the western of the two Boom towers which refers to the medieval background and construction of the city walls, gates and towers, and to their subsequent history. The Boom Towers, like the rest of the walls, gradually fell out of serious use, becoming monuments in the landscape, valued for their picturesque character and historical interest. They are depicted on maps and recorded in pictures and photographs. Reference is made to these sources. There is a possibility of early medieval evidence on the riverside,although the later history of the site includes brick-built riverside structures, swept away when the present Carrow Bridge was built in 1920, but recorded in pictures and photographs. Archaeological deposits may have been limited since the inside of the walled circuit was deliberately kept open for access in the middle ages, but access to the wall and river could suggest evidence for waterfront structures may have survived.
See report (S1) in file.
A. Cattermole (NLA) 1 March 2005.

June 2005.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning masonary repairs to the Chapelfield section of the city wall.
See (S12) for further details
H. White (NLA), 3 April 2009

See press cuttings (S13), (S14), (S15), (S16), (S17) and (S18) in file.
T. Sunley (NLA) 2 November 2007.

The Commission of 1385 at the time of the French Invasion ordered that a wall be constructed along the Wensum to fill up the gap in the existing wall; as far as is known, nothing was done
Rose, E. (NLA), 19 March 2007.

July 2006.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning repairs to brick and flint on the walls.
See (S19)
H. White (NLA), 3 April 2009

October 2007. Bulls Close Road Section
Scheduled monument consent granted regarding the removal of shrubs, the making good of flint work, face pointing of core and facing work to both sides of the wall. Wall head repairs as necessary.
See (S20)
H. White (NLA) 22 January 2009

November 2007. Paper Mills Yard
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning repairing two holes in the city wall, removing vegetation from the length of the wall fronting the yard and necessary repointing.
See (S20) for further information
H. White (NLA), 22 January 2009

December 2007. Magpie Road
Scheduled monument consent granted regarding the demolition of a modern building attached to the monument and repairs and structural support works.
See (S20) for further information
H. White (NLA), 23 January 2009

March 2008
Scheduled monument consent granted regarding the demoliton and removal of a building attached to the wall and for repairs to the wall.
See (S21)
H.White (NLA) 22 January 2008

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOWN DEFENCES (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOWN DEFENCES (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOWN WALL (structure, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval to Modern - 1297 AD to 2050 AD)
  • OVEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOWN DEFENCES (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDMILL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2307 L-N; TG2309 ACG-ACK.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. TG 3201ACN - ACX.
---Unpublished Document: Smith, P.. 2005. Email regarding city walls near Magpie Printers.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1996. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1995. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt III pp 397-412. p 405.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1999. The French Borough at Norwich: St Stephen's Parish (west part). An Archaeological Assessment. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 438.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1994. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1993. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt I pp 115-123. p 119.
---Verbal Communication: Alban, J.. 2007. Lecture at UEA. March 15.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1998. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1997. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt I pp 193-210. p 203.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Photograph: Kent, A.. 1968. City Walls.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Harvey, R.D.. Repairs to the City Walls and Gates, 1590 onwards.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Harvey, R.D.. 1975. The Black Tower, Carrow Hill and Butter Hill. May 16.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Harvey, R.D.. 1975. The City Gates. December 16.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Unknown. The Cow Tower.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Harvey, R.D.. 1975. The City Walls. June 5.
<S7>Article in Serial: Day, M.. 1982. John Bolton's Cinder Oven.. Industrial Archaeology Review. Vol 6, no 3, Autumn.
<S8>Unpublished Contractor Report: Smith, R. 1995. The Black Tower, Norwich. A Survey. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 161.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1997. An Excavation on the City Wall at Chapelfield Road, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 253.
<S10>Publication: Kent, P.. 1988. Defences of East Anglia. p.181.
<S11>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 2003. Report on an Archaeological Desk Top Assessment of Riverside to the North of Boom Tower, Norwich, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 793.
<S12>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2005. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S13>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 14 Sep 2001.
<S14>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 5 Sept 1989.
<S15>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 10 Feb 1995.
<S16>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 4 Jan 1998.
<S17>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 20 Aug 1999.
<S18>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2 Mar 1956.
<S20>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2007. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S21>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2008. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S22>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 377.

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