Record Details

NHER Number:624
Type of record:Monument
Name:Precinct of the Great Hospital

Summary

The Great Hospital was founded in 1249 by Bishop Walter de Suffield. The site began with the Church and Hospital of St Helen (NHER 588), and expanded over hundreds of years as further buildings were added to the complex. These include White Lodge (NHER 48259), the Refectory (NHER 26088), the Cloisters (NHER 26113), the Master's House (NHER 26021), Birkbeck Hall (NHER 26024), the Chaplain's House (NHER 26105) and the Swan Pit and its attached sluice (NHER 48209).
The Hospital was briefly dissolved in 1547, but the City took it over and it has continued into the present day, currently in use as a elderly person's residential home. Archaeological investigations have noted evidence of Late Saxon and early medieval activity prior to the establishment of the Hospital. Despite being on the margins of Saxon Norwich it seems likely that this was an area of occupation, although the hey-day of the site can be securely dated to the medieval period.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 237 090
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

Great Hospital founded on north-west side of the present St Helen's in 1246.
Dissolved 1547 but refounded later.
Bell of 1547 preserved inside.
See (S1), (S2) and (S3).

September 1991. Watching Brief.
Swan Pit drained.
See NHER 48209 for further details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 24 January 2018.

Detailed description by S. Heywood (NCC) in file and (S4).

August 1997. Trial Trenching.
Trial excavations at rear of Suffield Court produced redeposited medieval pottery, tile and animal bone, post medieval pits and posthole, indicating dumping in marsh in medieval and later hospital occupation.
See report (S5) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 October 1998.

8 January 1999. Watching Brief.
Observation of construction of flats at Youngs Green, TG 2374 0913, revealed that at least 1 metre of 19th century garden soil overlies any archaeology.
See report (S6) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA), 2 July 1999.

August-October 2000. Watching Brief.
An archaeological watching brief was undertaken during repairs to two sections of the boundary wall of the Great Hospital, Bishopgate. Evidence of Late Saxon and early Medieval activity, in the form of pottery and a bone pin or needle, was found in deposits beneath and adjacent to the wall during underpinning of a twelve-metre-long section. Two pits revealed beneath these deposits, cut into the natural sand, are probably Late Saxon in date and may represent occupation in an area previously thought to be on the margins of the Late Saxon town.
The wall itself has seen many phases of repair, but it is possible that parts of it may be of Medieval date; a piece of late 12th-15th century pottery from the lower part of the rebuilt wall section supports this possibility.
A single residual Mesolithic/Early Neolithic flint blade was also found.
Contexts 21-31.
See report (S7) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S8).
D. Gurney (NLA), 21 December 2000.

2003. Dendrochronological Survey.
Timbers taken from throughout the Great Hospital site showed a range of characteristics with may being fast-grown and others such as those used in the relict St Helen's Church truss being slow grown, which suggests a variety of sources for the timber. The analysis provided added dating evidence to assist with the interpretation of the development of the site and confirmed the date of the cloister roof as between AD 1447 and 1457. The analysis of the western truss of St Helen's Church indicated that the trees were felled between AD 1378 and 1799 and the Parker Ward roof was dated to AD 1403 which is later than the previous dates of around AD 1380 or AD 1430.
See report (S10) for further details.
S. Howard (HES), 25 October 2010.

See press cutting (S11) in file.
T. Sunley (NLA), 7 November 2007.

See The Great Hospital Norwich Online (S12).
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 March 2008.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Undated)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOSPITAL (13th Century to 19th Century - 1249 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (13th Century to 21st Century - 1249 AD to 2100 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SWANNERY POND (Post Medieval to Late 20th Century - 1540 AD to 1991 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BLADE (Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic - 10000 BC to 3001 BC)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SAMPLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 118 [5].
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Purcell Miller Tritton. 2002. The Great Hospital, Norwich. Condition Survey and Conservation Statement. Purcell Miller Tritton.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Wilson Compton Associates. 2002. The Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich. Record and Analysis Survey of the Buildings Constructed before 1902. Wilson Compton Associates.
---Leaflet: Great Hospital, Norwich. 1980. History of the Great Hospital Norwich.. Great Hospital, Norwich.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. For richer, for poorer, it's one of the UK'S Great archives. 30 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Putting his heart into promoting Norwich's heritage. 2 September.
---Article in Serial: Arthur Oswald. 1947. The Great Hospital, Norwich - I. Country Life. 12 December.
---Article in Serial: Arthur Oswald. 1947. The Great Hospital, Norwich - II. Country Life. 19 December, p1.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Publication: Phillips, E.. 1999. A Short History of The Great Hospital, Norwich.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2016. Unique and astonishing site that has its eye on the future. 18 February.
<S1>Monograph: Blomefield, F. 1806. The History of The City and County of Norwich, Part II. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk. Vol IV. p 380.
<S2>Publication: Willins, E. P. 1884. Quaint Old Norwich. Pl 29.
<S3>Leaflet: Great Hospital, Norwich. 1966. History of the Great Hospital Norwich.. Great Hospital, Norwich.
<S4>Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 276-278; Pl 43.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival, S. 1998. Archaeological Evaluation at the rear of Suffield Court, Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 323.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Phillips, C. 1999. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at the Great Hospital, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 379.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Underdown, S. 2000. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at the Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 542.
<S8>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 721.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: [Unknown]. 2002. The Swan Pit and its Sluice, Great Hospital, Norwich. Analysis of the History and Development. Wilson Compton Associates.
<S10>Monograph: Bridge, M. C. 2003. Tree-ring Analysis of Timbers from the Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich, Norfolk. English Heritage Research Department Report Series. 10/2003.
<S11>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. 750 year's devoted to the sick and poor. 10 February.
<S12>Website: The Great Hospital. 2008. The Great Hospital website..

Related records

26024Parent of: Birbeck Hall, Great Hospital (Building)
26105Parent of: Chaplain's House, Great Hospital (Building)
Site 2182Parent of: Church of St Helen (Monument)
Site 1266Parent of: Church of St. Helen, Bishopgate (Monument)
Site 2481Parent of: Church of St. Helen's, Bishopgate (Monument)
Site 1997Parent of: City wall, Chapelfield Road, Norwich (Monument)
26021Parent of: Former Master's House, Great Hospital (Building)
Mon 1216Parent of: Great Hospital (Chaplain's House) (Monument)
Mon 272Parent of: Great Hospital (Refectory) (Monument)
Site 452Parent of: Great Hospital cloisters, Bishopgate (Cloisters) (Monument)
Site 362Parent of: Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Master`s House) (Monument)
Site 427Parent of: Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Refectory) (Monument)
51300Parent of: Late Saxon and medieval finds and possible post medieval wall, Swan Pit inlet, River Wensum Flood Defense Scheme Zone 3a (Monument)
49101Parent of: Medieval and post-medieval remains and site of Great Hospital Laundry (Monument)
61175Parent of: Medieval and post-medieval structural remains (Monument)
61176Parent of: Medieval pottery and post-medieval remains (Monument)
26093Parent of: Part of the former Master's House, Great Hospital (Building)
Site 1300Parent of: Precinct of the Great Hospital (Monument)
Mon 1213Parent of: Rear of St Helen's House (Monument)
26088Parent of: Refectory, East Ward and part of Master's House, Great Hospital (Building)
54240Parent of: Site of Holme Cottages (Monument)
588Parent of: St Helen's Church and the Infirmary Hall at the Great Hospital, Norwich (Building)
Mon 750Parent of: St Helen's Church, North of Bishopgate (Monument)
Site 2480Parent of: St Helens House Boundary Wall (Monument)
26023Parent of: St Helen's House, Bishopgate (Building)
26113Parent of: The Cloisters of the Great Hospital (Building)
Site 444Parent of: The Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Chaplain`s House) (Monument)
Site 432Parent of: The Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Refectory, Master`s House?) (Monument)
48259Parent of: The Lodge at The Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Building)
48209Parent of: The Swan Pit and sluice, The Great Hospital, Bishopsgate (Building)
47974Parent of: White Cottages at The Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Building)
Site 3721Parent of: Young’s Green, Great Hospital, Young’s Green, Great Hospital, Bishopgate (Monument)

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