Record Details

NHER Number:634
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of medieval bell tower outside 71 The Close


The site of a free-standing medieval bell-tower for the cathedral. Its massive stone foundations were exposed by excavation in 1956.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 23380 08858
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Excavations in roadway in front of Number 71 for water main exposed mass of masonry foundations of cathedral campanile.
(1) shows position of campanile as recorded by 1851 excavation.
?Marked correctly.
Late medieval and post medieval pottery,
Clocher in existance by 1271, situated just south of Erpingham Gate across walk from Upper Close.
Clocher bells probably sold by Dean and Chapter in 1572.
In about 1582 - 1584 clocher described as dilapidated or ruinary.
Shown on Brown's view of Norwich (1579) (S2).
Number 71 The Close largely 17th century.
Whittinghams plan (1938) marks clocher as 1299 to 1308.
R.R. Clarke (NCM).

However ref (S2) refers to the foundations of the bell tower as having been found in 1888 when the whole forecourt was lowered to expose the base of the cathedral west façade. Can this be the case in this position, and is this separate from the 1851 excavation?
E.Rose (NLA), 18 February 1994.

W.Milligan (NCM) has checked ref (S1) and states that it consists only of documentary references with no mention of a discovery in 1851. Clearly Clarke made some confusion here.

(S3) gives yet another version that the bell tower was used as a quarry for building the Great Hospital 1576-80, the bells were removed 1569 and the foundations excavated 1881. For 71 The Close now see site NHER 26084.
E. Rose (NLA), 26 January 2001.

For full description of belltower see (S4) and references there given.
E. Rose (NLA), 10 June 2002.

Monument Types

  • BELL TOWER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Serial: 1956. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries. No 3. p 4.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
<S1>Article in Serial: L'Estrange, J. 1880. The Clocher of Norwich Cathedral. The Norfolk Antiquarian Miscellany. Series 1 Vol II Pt I pp 149-158.
<S2>Article in Serial: McAleer, J. P. 1993. The Façade of Norwich Cathedral: The Nineteenth-Century Restorations. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol LXI Pt IV pp 381-409. pp 407-408.
<S3>Article in Monograph: Cattermole, P. 1996. The Bells. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996. Atherton, I. et al (eds). pp 494-504. p 503.
<S4>Article in Serial: McAlear, J. P. 2001. Tradition of Detached Belltowers at Cathedrals. Journal British Archaeological Association. Third Series Vol CLIV pp 54-83.

Related records

Site 1308Parent of: Outside 71 The Close (Clocher) (Monument)
377Part of: Cathedral Close (cathedral precinct) (Monument)
Mon 1459Part of: Cathedral Precinct (Monument)

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