Record Details

NHER Number:26082
Type of record:Building
Name:The Old Charnel House, The Close (Carnary Chapel)


A chapel founded in 1316 by Bishop Salmon, the stonemason being John Ramsay. It is of stone with a plain tiled roof and has four window bays above a four-bay twin-aisled undercroft or crypt with circular windows. The door to the undercroft is on the south. The east window is partly blocked, with 19th century intersecting tracery. There are polygonal angle turrets in all but the northwest corner. It is thought that the crypt was originally used as a charnel house, but it has been associated with The Norwich school since the Dissolution. It was the school's sixth form common room before being refurbished for use as a meeting and exhibition room in 1991.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 23382 08899
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

1954. Listed Grade I.
Listing Description:
Chapel. Founded in 1316 by Bishop Salmon. Mason was J. Ramsey.
Stone with plain-tile roof. Four bays above four-bay twin-aisled undercroft. Door to undercroft at left-hand side with moulded two-centre surround and three cusped circular windows. Four three-light proto-Perpendicular windows with pointed two-centre arches to chapel. Cusped niches with pointed arches and crocketed finials on buttresses. Partly blocked east window with 19th century intersecting tracery. Polygonal angle-turrets in all but the northwest corner.
Information from (S1). Also a Scheduled Monument.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 28 November 2017.

In addition to above details which are confirmed, there is a 19th century ledger slab which covers redeposited bones found when lowering the floor in the 19th century and assumed to be the body of the founder and his family.

1985. Norwich Survey.
Built in 1310 with later changes to doors and windows.
See (S2), which includes (S3).
T.E. Miller (NLA), 21 July 2004.

Undercroft inspected by E. Rose (NLA).
Notes by [1] displayed suggest the crypt was the charnel house, later part converted to a chantry, then to rooms associated with Norwich School after the Dissolution though a guild use both pre and post Reformation is possible. Various 18th/19th century graffiti, and a deeply cut bas relief coat of arms dated 1987 to 1994 with the name SAPWELL [2].
See schedule in file.
(S4) speaks of this as Norwich's version of St Stephen's Chapel Westminster.
E. Rose (NLA), 19 December 2000.

The original west door with ironwork remains.
See (S5).
E. Rose (NLA), January 2001.

Listed in Valor Ecclesiasticus (1535).
'The said chantry is no parish church of itself.'
Information from (S6).
J. Allen (NLA), 3 July 2003.

See (S7).

(S8) stresses that this was a charnel not just for the Cathedral Close but for all of Norwich. It was built to resemble a reliquary; persons passing would look through the crypt windows to see the bones of their ancestors.
E. Rose (NLA), 19 September 2006.

Press cutting (S9) in file.

Monument Types

  • CHANTRY COLLEGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHARNEL HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CLOISTER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAPEL (14th Century to 21st Century - 1310 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF240.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NE 9 [3].
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 222-223; Pl 26.
---Article in Serial: Whittingham, A. 1980. The Carnary College, Norwich. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 361-364.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1051315.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Carter, A.. Building Survey.
<S3>Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
<S4>Article in Monograph: Woodman, F. 1996. The Gothic Campaigns. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996. Atherton, I. et al (eds). pp 158-196. p 178.
<S5>Article in Monograph: Geddes, J. 1996. The Medieval Decorative Ironwork. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996. Atherton, I. et al (eds.). pp 431-442. pp 433-434.
<S6>Article in Serial: Wood, R. 1999. The Chantry Certificates of Norfolk: Towards a Partial Reconstruction. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 287-306.
<S7>Publication: Jeffery, P.. 2004. The Collegiate Churches of England and Wales.. p 236.
<S8>*Verbal Communication: Gilchrist, R.. 2006. Lecture at Exeter. September.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Brighter image of crypt. 26 April.

Related records

619Parent of: 70 The Close (Building)
Mon 266Parent of: Carnary Chapel (Monument)
Site 421Parent of: Carnary Chapel (Monument)
Mon 269Parent of: Carnary Chapel (Undercroft / Charnal House) (Monument)
Site 2363Parent of: The Carnary Chapel, The Close (Monument)
377Part of: Cathedral Close (cathedral precinct) (Monument)
Mon 1459Part of: Cathedral Precinct (Monument)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2024 Norfolk Historic Environment Service