Record Details

NHER Number:605
Type of record:Building
Name:Suckling House, St Andrew's Street (Cinema City)


Suckling House is a merchant's house built between 1350 and 1370. It is a timber framed open hall with a king post roof. Two medieval doorways remain, one on the south side of the building and the other on the north. The building takes its name from Robert Suckling MP (mayor 1564), father of Suckling the poet.

Images - none

Documents/files/web pages


Grid Reference:TG 2314 0872
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Suckling House was built 1350-70. Hall open timber roof tie beam and king post. Three vaulted bays in front of it next the street. Ancient doors on north and south sides. Takes its name from Robert Suckling MP (mayor 1564), father of Suckling the poet.
R. R. Clarke (NCM).

1981. Norwich Survey.
Hall of late medieval house mostly demolished in about 1900 for the tramways. Street range along St Andrew's Street rebuilt around 1920.
See (S1), which includes (S2).
T.E. Miller (NLA), 2004.

See [1]. Former hall house now cinema and associated rooms and offices.
15th century onwards with major addition and alteration of 1925, by Boardman. Flint with brick and stone dressings. Red brick and black pantiles.
Single storey hall with single storey theatre to the east and a two-storey wing to the west. 1925 extension.

See (S3) for full details.
See (S4) in file.
Descheduled 1997.

History and plan by [1] after [2] for VAG 1997 meeting in file.

April 2004. Building recording.
The Great Hall of Suckling House is generally agreed to be 14th century, although opinions about the precise date vary. The original entrance to the hall would have been through one of the two doors which face one another at the western end of the hall. This would have led into a screens passage which, on the western side led to service rooms in vaulted bays, and to the east into the open hall. The screen was probably timber, and no trace remains. The area where the cinema foyer is today was originally part of the Little Parlour, and fragments of the wall survive in the north and south walls. In the south wall at first floor level a medieval door still exists, and may represent the original entrance to the Solar from an external stair.
The ground floor of the western range would have served as the service wing. Three vaulted bays survive, with evidence for another in the panelled room. This latter bay has fragmentary remains of vault webbing and is thought to have been the buttery, with the larder to the south, and further south were kitchens.
There is much speculation about whether the service wing is earlier or later than the hall. The awkward junction between the original southern door and the vaults suggest that the two buildings cannot be contemporary.
The layout of the hall follows the typical Norwich format of having the principal living rooms separated from the street by service rooms.
Early in the 16th century a long covered passageway was added to the north of the hall, leading out from the screens passage towards the counting house. This had open sides with oak posts and decorated spandrels, one with the Grocers' Arms and another with the arms of St Andrew. The inventory of Robert Suckling (1589) has allowed a conjectural plan of the building to be drawn up.
In the 17th century the building begins to be broken up. In 1608 the buildings were divided into northern and southern sections and sold separately. The wine merchant Philip Rose who bought Suckling House from 1819 is believed to be responsible for the insertion of a cellar in the Great Hall by raising the floor. Wine merchants continued to use the building until 1914.
In the 17th century the western range was refaced . The Great Gate that once stood just south of the Counting House was blocked off and incorporated into a house of six bays which appears Georgian, but is in fact just refaced.
See (S5) for further details.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 15 April 2008.

For information relating to archaeological work in and around this building, see NHER 55844.
A. Cattermole (HES), 21 July 2011.

Monument Types

  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HALL HOUSE (Medieval - 1370 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MERCHANTS HOUSE (Medieval - 1370 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

<Sb>Graphic material: Various. Various. Architectural plans..
<Sc>Unpublished document: Penn, K.. 2002. NAU Report No. 782. Report on an archaeological desk-top assessment on Suckling House and Stuart Hall (Cinema City), Norwich, Norfolk..
<Ss>Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards.
<Sq>Monograph: Pevsner, N. & Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. p 274.
<St>Publication: Rye, W. 1916. Norwich Houses Before 1600. p 8.
<Sf>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2006. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2005. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 124-136.
<Se>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2005. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2004. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 751-763.
<Sa>Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2004. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2003. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt III pp 573-588. p 584.
<Sp>Thesis: Smith, R. 1990. An Architectural History of Norwich Buildings, c. 1200 - 1700. Unpublished Thesis. pp 134-142,324, 353, 355, 378.
<Sh>Article in serial: Beecheno, F. R. 1917. The Sucklings' House at Norwich. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XIX pp 197-220.
<Si>Article in serial: Beecheno, F. R. 1921. The Sucklings' House at Norwich. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XX pp 158-178.
<Su>Publication: Colman, E. M. and Colman, H. C. 1926. Suckling House and Stuart Hall, Norwich.
<Sw>Documentary source: Norwich Enrolled Deeds.
<So>Unpublished document: Norwich Survey building record sheets.
<Sj>Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
<Sk>Article in serial: Green, H. J. 1917. The Sucklings' House. Additional Note. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XIX pp 220a-220b.
<Sm>Correspondence: Carr, N. 1979. Letter to Mr James Chapman (City Council Conservation Architect) regarding cellars at Suckling House. 3 March.
<Sn>Correspondence: Eastern Evening News. 1979. What is the Secret of Suckling House?. 2 March.
<Sr>Unpublished document: Smith, R. 1997. Suckling's House, St. Andrews Hill.
<Sv>Unpublished document: English Heritage. 1987. English Heritage Records Office Scheduled Ancient Monument Report.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S2>Unpublished document: Beechenco, F.R.. The Sucklings House at Norwich.
<S3>Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.
<S4>Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
<S5>Unpublished document: Thomas, P.. 2004. Historic Building Report. Suckling House and Stuart Hall (Cinema City) St Andrew's Street, Norwich.

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