Record Details

NHER Number:26035
Type of record:Building
Name:Bishop's Palace, The Close


A flint, brick and stone former Bishop's Palace until 1958, now a school, dating from the 11th century onwards but subject to a major restoration from 1858 to 9. It is three and four storeys high over 11th century barrel vaulting and forms a large L-shaped plan to the north of the cathedral, to which it was once connected. At the end away from the cathedral there is a small early 12th century fortified keep. The palace was used as a hospital in World War One and in World War Two, air raid shelters were dug under what is now the school playground.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2345 0895
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

February 1954. Listed, Grade I.
Former Bishop's Palace, now school. 11th century onwards.
1858 to 59. Restorations by Ewan Christian. Flint with brick and stone dressigns. Horizontal brick bands. Plain and pantile roofs. Large L-plan north of the Cathedral and originally connected to it. Three and four storeys above 11th century barrel vaulting. West façade: refaced in 1858 to 59.
See (S1) for the complete listing details.

It has a small keep at the end away from the cathedral, partly buried in later building. Dated 1104 to 8.
Fortified for personal security.
E.B. Green (NCM).

East wing: eight bay undercroft of quadripartite vaulting beneath the hall range east of the kitchen. The ribs spring from the central piers. (S2).
R. Smith 1990

Reverend Armstrong's Diary for 14 December 1860 says that the Bishops Palace has been 'transformed into a fairy Gothic palace' with new entry, library and dining room.
E. Rose (NLA). 20 August 1997.

The palace was used as a hospital in World War I (S3) (S6), and in World War II air raid shelters were dug under what is now the school playground (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 26 January 2001.

(S4) states that beneath the castle abovementioned there is a small motte, probably pre-dating it, which is evidenced by the change in ground levels.
E. Rose (NLA), 15 February 2006.

July 2008. Chimney Survey.
Survey revealed that the chimney stack was spalling badly and there were cracks within the bricks and joining. It is proposed that the chimney stack will be demolished and rebuilt in a faithful reproduction of the existing chimney.
See (S5) for further information.

Monument Types

  • BISHOPS PALACE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BISHOPS PALACE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Unpublished Document: Carter, A.. 1987. Building Survey.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 1.17; TG 20 NW 39.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 219-221.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Evening News. 1989. Slice of history in new hi-tech block. 6 November.
---Article in Serial: Renn, D. F. 1960. The Anglo-Norman Keep, 1066-1138. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Third Series Vol XXIII pp 1-23.
---Article in Serial: Whittingham, A. B. 1951. Report of the Summer Meeting of the Institute at Norwich, 1949. Part II. Norwich: Cathedral, Churches, and Religious and Charitable Foundations: The Monastic Buildings of Norwich Cathedral, and the Bishop's Palace. The Archaeological Journal. Vol CVI pp 86-87.
---Article in Serial: Whittingham, A. 1980. The Bishop's Palace, Norwich. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 365-368.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1372759.
<S2>Thesis: Smith, R. 1990. An Architectural History of Norwich Buildings, c. 1200 - 1700. Unpublished Thesis. p 327.
<S3>Article in Monograph: Atherton, I. 1996. The Close. Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996. Atherton, I. et al (eds). pp 634-664. pp 653, 659-664, footnote 147.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Gilchrist, R.. 2006. Norwich Cathedral Close.
<S5>Unpublished Document: NPS Property Consultants. 2008. NPS Design and Access Statement, Reconstruction of Chimney Stack at The Bishop's Palace, Norwich.
<S6>Publication: Gliddon, G. 1988. Norfolk and Sufolk in the Great War. p 68.

Related records

Mon 226Parent of: Bishop's Palace, The Close ( Keep) (Monument)
Site 375Parent of: Bishop's Palace, The Close (Monument)
Site 2750Parent of: The Bishops Palace, The Close (Monument)
377Part of: Cathedral Close (cathedral precinct) (Monument)
Mon 1459Part of: Cathedral Precinct (Monument)
226Part of: The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (Norwich Cathedral) (Building)

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