Record Details

NHER Number:631
Type of record:Building
Name:Lazar House Library and former leper hospital


Lazar House Library was originally founded before 1119 by Herbert de Losinga, as a hospital for male lepers and poor sick. It was dissolved in 1547, and used in the 17th century as an almshouse. The chapel was restored in 1906 by Sir Eustace Gurney and is now a Branch Library. The building itself is of flint rubble, with stone and some brick dressings, and a pantiled roof.


  • The lazar house, Norwich.  © Courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service.


Grid Reference:TG 23555 10418
Map Sheet:TG21SW

Full description

Lazar House Library.
Former leper hospital (Magdalen Chapel) 12th century. Later an almshouse until 17th century. Restored 1906 by Sir Eustace Gurney and now a Branch Library. Flint rubble with stone and some brick dressings, pantiled roof. Now C-plan two-storeys (mostly open to roof). Norman doorway in gable end. Red brick reconstruction with two and three light mullioned and transomed windows. Single storey wing at right angles and its projecting porch presumably date from early 20th century. Founded before 1119 by Herbert de Losinga, nave was used as the hospital and the chancel served as chapel for inmates.
See (S1) for details.

Founded by Losinga pre 1119 for male lepers, poor aged and sick (men only). Dissolved around 1547, chapel now used as Branch Library.
Compiled by R. R. Clarke (NCM).

Descheduled 12 March 1990 was AM 31.

See survey (S2), drawings and photos (S3) in file.
Survey undertaken 1989 indicates two of the Norman doors have been reset.

March 1993. Watching brief on renewal of floor of building.
Some brick and flint running north-to-south across west part and a east-to-west line of mortar in central part of building probably represent internal dividing wall demolished during early 20th century renovation. Limestone blocks at either side of recess in north wall may represent a north door (opposite existing south door).
Compiled by S. Bates (NAU) 19 March 1993.

For details of similarity of architecture with that of Norwich Cathedral see (S4).

See press cutting (S5) in file.
T. Sunley (NLA) 7 November 2007.

Monument Types

  • (Former Type) LEPER HOSPITAL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1119 AD? to 1547 AD)
  • (Former Type) ALMSHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1600 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • LIBRARY (Modern - 1901 AD? to 2050 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Publication: Knights, M. 1887. The Highways and Byeways of Old Norwich. p 97.
---Publication: Willins, E. P. 1884. Quaint Old Norwich. pl 44.
---Article in serial: Gurney, D (ed.). 1990. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1989. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt I pp 107-112. p 110.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Article in serial: 1921. The Lazar House, Norwich. Antiquaries Journal. Vol I No 4 pp 341.
<S1>Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.
<S2>Unpublished document: Smith, R.. Nov 1989. NAU Survey Report: The Lazar House, Sprowston Road, Norwich..
<S3>Photograph: Norwich City Council. 1970s-80s. Photographs of the Lazar House.
<S4>Article in monograph: Thurlby, M. 1996. The Influence of the Cathedral on Romanesque Architecture. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996. Atherton, I. et al (eds). pp 136-157. p 136.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Evening News. 12 Oct 1989.

Related records

Site 1626Parent of: 219 Sprowston Road (Lazar House) (Monument)
Site 1627Parent of: 219 Sprowston Road, Lazar House (Monument)
Site 2587Parent of: Lazar House (219 Sprowston Road) (Monument)

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