Record Details

NHER Number:604
Type of record:Building
Name:Wensum Lodge or The Music House, Nos 167 and 169 King Street


Wensum Lodge, also known as Music House, is a 12th-century house that has long been associated with a prominent member of the Jewish community in Norwich, Jurnet the Jew. In fact, it was his son Isaac who bought the property in 1225 from John Curry. This is the only secular 12th-century building to survive in Norwich. The King Street façade largely dates to the 17th century, but the left gable conceals the remains of a private house of the early 12th century arranged at right angles to the street. In the 12th century a further north to south range was added where the current 17th-century street front stands. To the left lies a 12th-century undercroft which would have been at street level when first constructed. Of the upper hall we know little, apart from the fact that it existed. In the late 15th century it was raised in height, and given its present scissor-braced roof and fireplace. In around 1175 a north to south range was built, consisting of a single aisled hall. The aisle of the hall was removed in 1480 and a further brick undercroft built. The hall itself was largely removed by the construction of a 17th century block. During the 18th century the house was subdivided into tenements, and since the 1960s it has been converted into an adult education and sports centre by Norfolk County Council.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 23631 08043
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Nos 167 and 169 King Street (Wensum Lodge/Music House).

12th century house, associated with a Jewish family, with later additions.
Information from (S1).

1954. Listed Grade I.
Listing Description Excerpt:
"Former house now educational institute. 12th century onwards. Flint, brick, pantile roofs.
King Street facade:- Two storey with three-storey end gable-ends."
"Interior:- 12th-century stone-built undercroft beneath the left-side gable width which represents the extent of the original house. The undercroft has two compartments with a connecting door…"
Information from (S2).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S2) for the current details.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 January 2018. Amended H. Hamilton (HES), 8 November 2019.

On 17 July 1979 this building was visited by the Royal Archaeological Institute as part of their summer meeting in Norwich. The subsequently published summary of the building by Alan Carter (S3) describes it as having probably been built by Jurnet Ha Nadib in the 1170s (after a period when he had been financing short-term loans to Henry II). It is noted that the massive respond attached to the external wall of the undercroft is now thought to represent the remains of a single-ailed hall that was lost when the west range was remodelled and a brick undercroft inserted in the late 15th-century. The respond has a nicked base that dates to 1175-80 and is paralleled by those in the cathedral infirmary. The remodelling of the west range is attributed to Sir John Paston, who had brought the property in 1488.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 January 2018.

January 1980. Building Survey.
Examined as part of Norwich Survey.
This building, formerly known as the 'Music House' incorporates substantial remains of an 'L'-shaped 12th-century building, constructed in two phases and since much altered. It is situated immediately east of King Street on what was once the tide line of the adjacent river, with its north wall abutting the boundary of St Etheldreda's parish. The five bay undercroft beneath the north wing is part of the original (?mid 12th-century) build. The west street range is the product of a second Norman building phase perhaps a generation or so after the first (? c. 1180) and probably incorporated a new hall. This later Norman building was replaced in the Middle Ages (?14th or 15th century) by an entirely new range with a wide, brick-built, three-bay undercroft. This undercroft appears to have been structurally unsound, being reinforced and partially rebuilt on at least two occasions. The north range was also subject to late medieval alterations, being heightened and fitted with a roof that may have come from another building. Other mostly cosmetic changes included the insertion of a large west window.
During the 17th century additions were made to the east of the southern end of the main street range.
See record forms (S4) for further details. See also file for copies of photographs and sketches found in Alan Carter archive.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 22 January 2018.

This building and its undercroft are amongst those noted in thesis (S5), which considers the 13th- to 17th-century buildings of Norwich. The undercroft is described as comprising three bays, each with an extremely flat, arched profile made up of single-order diagonal ribs that spring from flat, stone corbels. It is also noted that a blocked doorway is evident in the south-west corner. The Music House itself is described as a 12th-century house ranged at range-angles to the street with a stone-built undercroft. Soon after its construction a single-aisled hall was added of which only the base and lower section of one respond survives. A brick-built undercroft and a reused scissor-brace roof survive from the 15th century. It is noted that the building was radically altered in the 17th-century, when the present street façade (with its large pedimented mullion and transom windows) was added. The rear of the block also has 19th century additions and internal alterations were made in the 20th century.
E. Rose (NLA), 14 July 1997. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 22 January 2018.

Regarding Clarke's comment [on (S1), see above], the building was not owned by a Jewish family until a later date than its construction. A second undercroft is of 15th-century brick but contains one pillar base indicating a former single-aisled hall; the base is very similar to the columns of the cathedral infirmary.
See also (S6).
E. Rose (NLA), 19 April 1999.

A review of the documentary evidence for early stone buildings in Norwich (S7)/(S8) suggests that the earliest known owner of The Music House is one John Curry/son of Herbert, before 1225. A detailed descent of the property in the 13th century can be found in (S9).
S. Howard (NLA), 13 January 2010.

August 2004. Watching Brief.
Observation of leaking 15th-century window in southern cell, west wall, of undercroft.
An architecturally significant feature of the medieval vaulted cellar was recorded.
See report (S10) for further details. The results of this work are also noted in (S11).
J. Allen (NLA), 20 September 2006.

For a comprehensive history of the building, including photographs and plans, see (S9)
H. White (NLA), 14 May 2009.

Monument Types

  • HOUSE (Medieval to 21st Century - 1100 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval to 21st Century - 1100 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • SINGLE AISLED BUILDING (12th Century to 16th Century - 1175 AD? to 1600 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Kent, E. A. 1942. Isaac's Hall or the Music House, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXVIII Pt I pp 31-38.
---Article in Monograph: Ayers, B. 2002. Recent Archaeological Research into Secular Romanesque Buildings in Norfolk. The Medieval House in Normandy and England: proceedings of seminars in Rouen and Norwich. Pitte, D. and Ayers, B. (eds). pp 69-76.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 56 [2].
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 274-275; Pl 12.
---Article in Serial: Hearn, M. and Thurlby, M. 1997. Previously Undetected Wooden Ribbed Vaults in Medieval Britain. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Third Series Vol CL pp 48-58. p 56.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. Photograph of the River Wensum with the Wensum Lodge. 13 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2003. Historic building sadly neglected. 2 October.
---Publication: Lipman, V. D. 1967. The Jews of Medieval Norwich.
---Article in Serial: W. Buston. 1942. The Norman house in Norwich and the "Music House". Country Life. 21 August, p1.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013. Feasibility study rasies questions over future of Wensum Lodge. 28 May.
---Article in Serial: Cornford, B. 1989. John Dent - History of Wensum Lodge [report on talk given at Recent Discoveries meeting, April 22, 1989]. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 3 No 3 pp 9-10.
<S1>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
<S2>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1217907.
<S3>Article in Serial: Carter, A. 1980. The Music House and Wensum Lodge, King Street, Norwich. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 310-312.
<S4>Recording Form: Norwich Survey building record forms.
<S5>Thesis: Smith, R. 1990. An Architectural History of Norwich Buildings, c. 1200 - 1700. Unpublished Thesis. pp 329, 410.
<S6>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition.
<S7>Unpublished Report: Rutledge, E. 2002. The Early Stone House in Norwich: The documentary evidence. Publication draft.
<S8>Article in Monograph: Rutledge, E. 2002. The Early Stone House in Norwich: The documentary evidence. The Medieval House in Normandy and England: proceedings of seminars in Rouen and Norwich. Pitte, D. and Ayers, B. (eds). pp 103-110.
<S9>Monograph: Dent, J. I. and Livock, J. S. 1990. Wensum Lodge: The Story of a House. From the Twelfth Century to the Twentieth Century. pp 12-15.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Moss, N. 2004. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Music House, King Street, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 992.
<S11>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2005. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2004. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 751-763. p 758.

Related records

MNO9425Related to: Nos. 167 & 169 (Wensum Lodge - formerly Music House) King Street NORWICH (Revoked)

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