Parish Summary: Norwich

Since it began life as a box of card files, the NHER has grown to some 50,000+ digital records. With over 2,000 of these referring to sites inside the modern city of Norwich, it can be hard to know where to begin! In order to help you start accessing these we have written a brief introduction to the City, followed by an overview of the archaeological records for each historical period.

Due to the nature of the records, these overviews are drawn strictly from the archaeological record and readers should note that some famous historical events (such as the civil war) may feature a lot less prominently than in historical overviews. We have not sought to offer a definitive account of Norwich or its history, and readers seeking this should refer to the Further Reading section at the bottom of this page.

Links to the overviews can be found at the bottom of this page.

Introduction to Norwich

Norwich is the administrative capital of Norfolk, and has an area of some 39km2. It has been a city since 1195, and has a population of over 125,000 people. The suburban development expands in several areas to the north, east and west, with many people living in adjacent parishes such as Hellesdon and Costessey.  

Photograph of Norwich Castle. From Picture Norfolk.

Norwich Castle. Courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service.

The city itself can be reached by road via the A47 from Kings Lynn and Peterborough, and from Cambridge by the A11. The main rail routes run from London Liverpool Street and Cambridge, and Norwich also has an airport with flights to Amsterdam Schipol International, as well a number of internal destinations.

The city straddles the River Wensum, which loops through the city. To the east of this stands the high ground of Mousehold Heath, one of the few remaining undeveloped areas, and to the south and west Ber Street stands high above the river valley.

Traditional employers like Colman and Rowntrees (now part of Nestle) have largely moved away from the city, and the current economy is based on service-industry activity. A large number of jobs are now provided by Norwich Union, part of the Aviva Company, as well as other financial and insurance service companies. 

The thriving cultural scene includes a number of performance spaces such as St Andrews Hall and the Theatre Royal, with others available at the University of East Anglia campus at the western edge of the city.

Continue to:

Prehistoric to Roman Norwich

Saxon Norwich

Medieval Norwich

Post medieval Norwich

Modern Norwich

Piet Aldridge, Ruth Fillery-Travis and Tom Sunley, (NLA), 18 April 2007.


Further Reading

We have listed a small number of sources that we found particularly useful whilst producing these overviews of Norwich. However, for a  good introduction to the archaeology of Norwich please see Norwich: A Fine City by Brian Ayers, listed below. Contained within that volume are also a number of good references for further, more detailed reading material.

Atherton, I., Fernie, E. Harper-Bill, C. and Smith, H. (eds)., 1996. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996 (London, Hambledon)

Ayers, B., 2003. Norwich: A Fine City (Stroud, Tempus)

Carter, A., J.P. Roberts and H. Sutermeister., 1974. 'Excavations in Norwich - 1973'. Norfolk Archaeology, Vol 26, 38-71

Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1999. The Buildings of England, Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-east (London, Penguin)

Rawcliffe, C. and Wilson, R. (eds). 2004. Medieval Norwich: A fine city (London, Hambledon)

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