Record Details

NHER Number:373
Type of record:Monument
Name:Greyfriars' Precinct, Norwich

Summary

The Greyfriars (Friars Minor, Franciscans) arrived in Norwich in 1226, were established on the site in 1285, and started building work in 1288. The site straddles either side of Prince of Wales Road, starting at the top of the road near Agricultural Hall Plain, and finishing just past Cathedral Street. The site may also have incorporated or abutted the churches of St Vedast (NHER 395) and St John the Evangelist (NHER 76), both of which were demolished in the late medieval or early post medieval period. Excavation in several areas of the Precinct (NHER 845) has indicated that before the arrival of the Greyfriars this site was already occupied by Late Saxon and early medieval buildings, with evidence of iron working and small industry during these periods. The area appears to have had a church for a time in the early medieval period, dedicated to St John the Evangelist (NHER 427), though this was demolished by the Greyfriars. Excavation has shown that large numbers of the earlier buildings were demolished and that an early medieval road was blocked and built over by the Greyfriars, who purchased more land in 1292. Although extensive evidence for the buildings, walls, wells and pits of the Priory has been excavated, the exact layout of the site is still unclear, as much of it now lies under modern domestic and office buildings. However, documentary evidence indicates that the main entrance to the precinct was on King Street, and the Friary church may have been as large as 91m long and 24m wide. Other buildings named by sources include a cloisters and a large chapter house, but the dissolution of the Friary in 1539 was closely followed by the demolition of the precinct buildings by 1565, and so nothing has survived above ground today. However, the extensive excavation of this site, particularly in the area between Prince of Wales Road and Rose Lane, means that the history of this precinct is better known than either the Blackfriars (NHER 381) or Whitefriars (NHER 430) precincts.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2351 0860
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

Greyfriars Precinct, King Street.

The Greyfriars (Friars Minor, Franciscans) arrived in Norwich in 1226 and were established on the site in 1285.
They started building work in 1288. The Friary was dissolved in 1539 and the buildings were demolished in 1565.
William of Worcestre gives the length of the nave as 82 paces; the crossing = 24 paces; the choir = 60 paces; the breadth = 32 paces. The length of the cloister (on the chapter house side) = 61 paces.
The precinct extended from St Cuthbert's churchyard on the north, to Rose Lane and the river on the south, to King Street on the west, to St Vedast's Street on the east.
There was an anchorage opposite a lane leading from King Street to the 'Red Well'. A further anchorage stood on the site of St John the Evangelist. The main entrance to the precinct was opposite 'The Griffin' on King Street. The site incorporates the site of the church of St John the Evangelist (NHER 427), demolished around 1300, which was situated on the corner of Rose Lane and King Street. The church was said to be 300ft (91m) long, 80ft (24m) wide. Cloisters and large chapter house (S1). Dissolved in AD 1538.
For additional information on the documentary evidence for Norwich Greyfriars see the relevant sections of (S2), an early draft of which is also held by HES (S11).

May 1991. Field Observation.
Examination of foundation trench in yard of Norfolk Club after human skeletal remains uncovered by workmen.
A skull and a leg bone had been pulled out by the workmen and a small amount of subsequent excavation uncovered a number of leg and foot bones. A single fragment of early medieval pottery was also recovered.
See record form (S3) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA), 6 November 1991.

For 1992 excavations see NHER 845.

October 1997. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of proposed development site. Contexts 5 to 101.
Evidence of Late Saxon timber buildings, ironworking, comb making.
Important small finds.
Superseded by Franciscan graveyard with demolished ecclesiastical building.
Considerable lengths of the north precinct wall remain along the south side of St Faith's Lane, opposite and parallel to the cathedral precinct wall (it is not clear which of these the OS marking as an antiquity refers).
See report (S4) for further details. The results of this work are summarised in (S5).
See also (S6).
The associated archive has been deposited with Norwich Castle Museum (Late Saxon buckle initial accessioned as NWHCM : 2003.177, main archive now NWHCM : 2017.500) [1].
E. Rose, A. Rogerson and B.S. Ayers 21 November 1995. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 27 April 2019.

November 1999.
P. Emery (NAU) in lecture to RAI stated: in order to establish the site existing houses were demolished and cellars in-filled. A road, marked with hoofprints and wheel-ruts, was closed and blocked by the princinct wall. In 1292 eight plots were purchased for new buildings and the site was updated in the late 15th. There was a dovecote, a 2m high south precinct wall, and a stone bridge over the Dallingflete that survived until the 19th century (and may still survive below ground). Several wells (one of huge size) were excavated and a drain roofed with paramoudras.
E. Rose (NLA), 10 November 1999.

1998. Excavation and Watching Brief. Contexts to 965 used.
Uncovered a portion of the 10th-12th century street frontage containing domestic and industrial material and comprising remains of timber structures, pits and ditches. The site of a possible forge incorporated into the precinct of the Franciscan Friary in the 13th century was found.
136 14th-16th century burials excavated from the Franciscan Friary cemetery.
See published monograph (S7) and draft report (S8) for full details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S9).
The associated archive has been deposited with Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2004.805).
J. Allen (NLA), 5 August 2003. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 27 April 2019.

July 1998. Photographic Survey.
Photographic survey of existing cathedral precinct wall adjacent to St Faiths Lane, a portion of the southern face of which was exposed during the construction of a new Norwich School sports hall.
See (S10).
P. Watkins (HES), 2009

Human remains from Friary to be re-interred at the Franciscan Friary cemetery at East Bergholt, Suffolk.
See letter in file.
A. Hutcheson (NLA), 7 November 2002.

For the tomb of Roger Appleyard buried here in 1529 and possibly removed to Bracon Ash at the Dissolution, see NHER 9524.
E. Rose (NLA), 4 February 2003.

An area to the north east, between the modern-day Cathedral Street and St Faith's Lane, appears to have been enclosed within the precinct and cultivated from the 13th or early 14th century onwards.
See NHER 49074 for further information.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 26 November 2007.

Monument Types

  • FLOOR (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FORGE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • METAL WORKING SITE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • QUARRY (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BRIDGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CELLAR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CEMETERY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRAIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FORGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GULLY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HERMITAGE (RELIGIOUS) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUARRY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FRIARY (Medieval to 16th Century - 1226 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CELLAR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GARDEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • PADLOCK (Unknown date)
  • WHETSTONE (Unknown date)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BALANCE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BIRD REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BOWL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CLENCH NAIL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • COMB (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CRUCIBLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FISH REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KNIFE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KNIFE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • SAMPLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TEXTILE EQUIPMENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • AXEHEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BALANCE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BIRD REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOLT (LOCK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOWL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COMB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISH REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLUTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • JETTON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NAIL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SAMPLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STIRRUP (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOGGLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANNULAR BROOCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MUSKET BALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Illustration: Mudd. A.. 2003. Sketch plan of skeleton reburial.
---Article in Monograph: Blatchley, J. and Middleton-Stewart, J. 2002. Sir Philip Bothe of Shrubland. East Anglia's History. Harper-Bill, C. (ed). p 138.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 28 [2]; TG 20 NW 127.5 [2].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Secret world of Grey Friars. 28 March.
---Article in Serial: Emery, P. A.. 1995. Norwich Greyfriars: Bell-casting Pit. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 37 pp 9-12.
---Record Card: NCM Staff. 1973-1989. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card - Norwich.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Publication: Blyth, G. K. 1842. The Norwich Guide. p 137.
<S2>Monograph: Emery, P. A. and Rutledge, E. 2007. Norwich Greyfriars: Pre-Conquest Town and Medieval Friary. East Anglian Archaeology. No 120.
<S3>Recording Form: Various. Norfolk Archaeological Unit Pro Forma Watching Brief Record Form. T66.
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Emery, P. 1997. Evaluation Excavation at the former Wallace King premises, St Faiths Lane, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 285.
<S5>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1998. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1997. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt I pp 193-210. p 204.
<S6>Slide: Various. Slide. 1-64.
<S7>Monograph: Soden, I. 2010. Life and Death on a Norwich Backstreet AD 900–1600: Excavations in St Faith’s Lane, Norwich. East Anglian Archaeology. No 133.
<S8>Unpublished Report: Soden, I. 2002. Life and death on a Norwich backstreet AD900-1600. Excavations in St Faiths Lane, Norwich 1998. Publication draft.
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 369-387. p 381.
<S10>Unpublished Document: Purcell Miller Tritton and Partners. 1998. Norwich School, New Sports Hall. Photographs of Existing Precinct Wall (as recorded 29 June 1998).
<S11>Unpublished Document: Rutledge, E. 1995. Norwich Greyfriars. Documentary Evidence.

Related records

Site 1537Parent of: 23-25 King Street (Monument)
Site 1538Parent of: 23-25 King Street (Monument)
Site 1563Parent of: 8-12 St. Vedast Street (Monument)
Site 1564Parent of: 8-12 St. Vedast Street (Monument)
49074Parent of: Area of cultivation associated with Greyfriars' Precinct (Monument)
Mon 1678Parent of: Boundary Dicth (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1677Parent of: Boundary Ditch (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1679Parent of: Boundary Ditch (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1686Parent of: Boundary Walls (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1655Parent of: Building (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1664Parent of: Building (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1648Parent of: Cellared Building (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1676Parent of: Ditch (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1683Parent of: Ditch (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1665Parent of: Dovecote (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1667Parent of: Drainage System (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1682Parent of: Flint Building (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1666Parent of: Fresh Water Supply (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Site 3738Parent of: Greyfriars (Nos 11-13 Prince of Wales Road) (Monument)
Site 3737Parent of: Greyfriars (Street Frontage and no. 9 Prince of Wales Road) (Monument)
394Parent of: Greyfriars building wall and inhumations (Monument)
Mon 1659Parent of: Greyfriars Cemetery (Monument)
Mon 1660Parent of: Greyfriars Cloisters (Monument)
Site 3736Parent of: Greyfriars Friary (Monument)
Mon 1661Parent of: Greyfriars Kitchen (Monument)
Mon 556Parent of: Greyfriars Monastic Precinct (Monument)
Mon 1656Parent of: Greyfriars Precinct Wall (Monument)
Site 823Parent of: Greyfriars Road (Monument)
845Parent of: Late Saxon buildings and extensive medieval friary buildings (Monument)
74Parent of: Late Saxon objects and medieval to post medieval pottery sherds (Find Spot)
357Parent of: Late Saxon or early medieval graves and pottery sherds (Monument)
51338Parent of: Late Saxon road and buildings and medieval Friary building (Monument)
241Parent of: Late Saxon to post medieval pottery sherds (Find Spot)
270Parent of: Late Saxon to post medieval pottery sherds (Find Spot)
Site 1741Parent of: Mann Egerton building, Prince of Wales Road/Rose Lane (Monument)
26583Parent of: Medieval building, cess pit, well, and Late Saxon to post medieval objects (Monument)
788Parent of: Medieval pottery sherd (Find Spot)
102Parent of: Medieval pottery sherds (Find Spot)
65Parent of: Medieval to post medieval pottery sherds and tile fragments (Find Spot)
41958Parent of: Prehistoric ditch and finds, medieval to post medieval finds and features (Monument)
Mon 1651Parent of: Quarry (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1685Parent of: Quarry (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1642Parent of: Road (Greyfriars) (Monument)
76Parent of: Site of church and churchyard of St Peter Parmentergate (Monument)
395Parent of: Site of church of St Vedast, Rose Lane, Norwich (Monument)
26321Parent of: Site of no archaeological finds or features, rear of 27 Prince of Wales Road (Negative evidence)
427Parent of: Site of St John the Evangelist's Church, Norwich (Monument)
40808Parent of: Site with no archaeological finds or features, Prince of Wales Road (Negative evidence)
38185Parent of: Site with no archaeological finds or features, rear of 54 to 56 Prince of Wales Road (Negative evidence)
26579Parent of: Site with no evidence for archaeologically significant features or deposits (Negative evidence)
Mon 1190Parent of: St Vedast Churchyard (Monument)
Mon 698Parent of: St Vedast's Church (Monument)
Mon 1672Parent of: Timber building (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1652Parent of: Timber building North (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1650Parent of: Timber Structure to the North (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1210Parent of: Wallace King (St Faiths Lane) (Monument)
Site 1091Parent of: Wallace King Ltd. Warehouse, St. Faiths Lane (Monument)
Mon 1644Parent of: Weaving Shed (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1673Parent of: Workshop (Greyfriars) (Monument)
Mon 1662Parent of: Yard (Greyfriars) (Monument)

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