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), and the Chaplain's House (NHER 26105).
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).

1991. Swan Pit drained 20 September.
Observed pit constructed entirely of brick.
See NAU Watching Brief sheet T81 in file.
(This pit was listed grade II in 2002 as late 18th century with 19th century east wall and sluice, a very rare example. E. Rose (NLA), July 2002).
B. S. Ayers (NAU), 20 September 1991

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

August 1997.
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) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 October 1998.

8 January 1999.
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.
Report (S6) in file.
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) in file. See also (S12).
D. Gurney (NLA), 21 December 2000.

2001. Recording and analysis of the chancel east window.
The east window mixes decorated and perpendicular motifs in a way not seen anywhere else since AD 1400 and its most likely date based on the style is the 1430s. The window has clearly been inserted in an existing opening and was made for that opening rather than being imported from another building. The tracery is not contemporary with the window jambs as indicated by the differences in mouldings, the type of stone and the way the arch and window stonework is not fastened together. The flooring of the chancel is dated to AD 1579 and there are two phases of blocking of the eastern end, the first around the mid-16th century possible due to damage during the Ketts Rebellion of AD 1549 and the second at the time of structural modifications. The main east window has not been subject to a major Victorian overhaul which is unusual for a design of this size and importance.
See (S8) for further information.
S. Howard (HES), 26 October 2010.

February 2002.
For a detailed analysis of the history and development of the Swan pit.
See (S9).
H. White (NLA), 28 May 2009.

2003. Tree-ring analysis.
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 (S10).
S. Howard (HES), 25 October 2010.

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

See The Great Hospital Norwich Online (S13).
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 (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1249 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval to Modern - 1249 AD to 2050 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 Cold War - 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

---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.
---Leaflet: Great Hospital, Norwich. 1966. History of the Great Hospital Norwich.. Great Hospital, Norwich.
---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, p1.
---Article in Serial: Arthur Oswald. 1947. The Great Hospital, Norwich - II.. Country Life. 19 December, p1.
---Archive: 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.
<S1>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. For richer, for poorer, it's one of the UK'S Great archives. 30 May.
<S1>Thesis: Smith, R. 1990. An Architectural History of Norwich Buildings, c. 1200 - 1700. Unpublished Thesis.
<S2>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.
<S3>Publication: Willins, E. P. 1884. Quaint Old Norwich. pl 29.
<S4>Serial: Pevsner, N. & Wilson, B.. 2002. Buildings of England: Norfolk 1, Norwich & North East.. 2nd Edition.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival S. Oct 1998. Archaeological Evaluation at the rear of Suffield Court, Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 323.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Phillips, C. 1999. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at the Great Hospital, Norwich. Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society Report. 379.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Underdown, S. 2000. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at the Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 542.
<S9>Unpublished Document: Wilson Compton Associates. 2002. The Swan Pit and its Sluice, Great Hospital, Norwich. Analysis of the History and Development. Wilson Compton Associates.
<S10>Monograph: Bridge, M. C. 2010. Derlyngham Tower, The Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich, Norfolk. Tree-ring Analysis of Timbers. English Heritage Research Department Report Series. 75-2010.
<S10>Monograph: Bridge, M. C. 2010. 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. 10 Feb 1999.
<S12>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.
<S13>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)
54240Parent of: Holme Cottages Early 20th century almhouses (Building)
51300Parent of: Late Saxon and medieval finds and possible post medieval wall, Swan Pit inlet, River Wensum Flood Defense Scheme Zone 3a (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)
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)
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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