Record Details

NHER Number:606
Type of record:Building
Name:Strangers Hall Museum, 6 Charing Cross


This former house is now shops and a museum. The earliest building here dates to around 1320-32 and the surviving undercroft relates to this house. Over time the site was owned and built upon by a succession of wealthy merchants. The most impressive structure is the great hall built by W. Barley in 1450 with a new wing added by T. Cowse in the later 15th century. Much of the current exterior, including the street range, dates to the 16th century. The ground floor is made from flintwork of this period and the first floor is timber framed and jettied. The building later fell into disrepair and was saved from demolition and restored in 1899. In 1994 the removal of render around window of 1530 revealed an original window frame, with shutter hinge and plaster reveals.


  • An oriel window at Strangers Hall, Norwich.  © Courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service.


Grid Reference:TG 22898 08733
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Strangers Hall Museum, Charing Cross.

Undercroft of earliest surviving house dates to around 1320 (kitchens date to approximately 1332). In about 1450 great hall built W. Barley. Late 15th century new wing added by T. Cowse. Roof of great hall dated to about 1545. 1621 street front constructed F. Cock. 1627 staircase and bay window. 1659 oak room, Sir Joseph Paine.
Information from (S1), which also has a long list of the early sources that refer to Strangers Hall.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 23 January 2018.

February 1954. Listed, Grade I.
Listing Description excerpt:
"Former houses and shops now museum. 14th century onwards.
Street range:- Early 16th-century flint rubble ground floor, rendered timber frame first floor. Brick rear extension. Pantile roofs. Two storeys, first floor jettied."
"Undercroft beneath right hand half of building:- Brick. Pointed barrel-vault profile parallel to street line with side chamber away from street."
"Hall range:- 14th, 15th and 16th-century alterations. Flint rubble with stone and brick dressings. Rendered timber-frame to top floor, north wall of north arm. Pantile roofs. L-shape plan away from street line. Two-bay open hall and two-storey service end with cellars parallel to street."
"Block south-west of hall:- Late 15th century, rebuilt early 16th century. Flint with brick dressings. Pantile roof. Two storeys built over 15th-century cellar. Three bays with single-storey left-side extension with one mullion and transom window."
"Centre rear of street range:- Later 16th-century. Flint with brick dressings ground floor. Timber frame first floor. Pantile roof. At right-angles to street range. Two storeys. Jetty at first floor."
"Beyond the extreme left of the street range is a block running back from and away from the street line:- 15th century with later alterations. Flint and brick dressings. Pantile roof. Two storeys."
Information from (S2).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S2) for the current details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 23 January 2018. Amended by H. Hamilton (HES), 8 November 2019.

Painting on plaster on east wall of Victorian bedroom.
?A. P. Baggs.

1970s or 1980s. Norwich Survey.
This building would have been examined as part of the Norwich Survey, although no reports or record form have yet been found (the only relevant material present in the Alan Carter archive being a series of architectural plans). Strangers Hall was however amongst the buildings discussed in (S3), which was written by Norwich Survey staff.
T.E. Miller (NLA) 4 January 2006. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 23 January 2018.

Shortly before 1994.
Removal of render around window of 1530 revealed window frame, with shutter hinge and plaster reveals. Said to belong to original structure, and perhaps to light a spiral staircase.
See photocopy of (S4) in file.
D. Gurney (NLA) 17 January 1995.

March 1997. Descheduled.
This building has been descheduled but remains protected as a Listed Building (S2).
Information from Scheduling Notification (S9).
H. Mellor (HES), 6 June 2018.

This building and is undercrofts are amongst those listed in thesis (S3), which considers the 13th- to 17th-century buildings of Norwich. The street range undercroft is described as a pointed barrel-vault with side chamber and the remains of the entry stairs in the south wall. A blocked doorway in the east wall originally gave access to an adjoining undercroft, from which only the side chamber with a pointed barrel-vault profile survives. It is also noted that scars in the north and east walls suggest a double-storey undercroft in the position of the north service room.

Detailed description and drawings by [1] for visit of VAG, in file - these reproduced from (S5).

Before February 2002. Stray Find.
Found in garden:
1 post-medieval pottery sherd. Rim sherd of 17th century Anglo-Netherlands tin-glazed earthenware plate, decoration as Jennings 1981 nos. 1388 and 1390 which were dated to 1630-40.
A. Rogerson (NLA) 31 May 2002.

15 May 2003. Watching Brief.
No archaeological remains were disturbed during excavation of the service trenches.
See report (S6) for further details.
J. Allen (NLA) 20 September 2006.

2004. Documentary Research.
See (S7) for detailed history of Strangers Hall.
P. Watkins (HES), 23 January 2018.

June 2011.
Newspaper Article:
Stranger's Hall, originally a Merchant House, was restored by Leonard Bolingbroke (a Norwich solicitor) in the 1920's and turned into a private folk museum. It was England's first museum of domestic life. In 1921 The Friends of the Norwich Museums was established and a 16th century six panelled oak door, which was once at the priory of Walsingham was acquired for Stranger's Hall for £100.
See (S8) for further details.
D. Lefeuvre (HES), 8 August 2011.

Monument Types

  • HOUSE (Medieval to 21st Century - 1320 AD to 2100 AD)
  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval to 21st Century - 1320 AD to 2100 AD)
  • HALL HOUSE (Medieval to 21st Century - 1450 AD to 2100 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Medieval to 21st Century - 1450 AD to 2100 AD)
  • MUSEUM (Early 20th Century to 21st Century - 1922 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

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

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF14770.
---Drawing: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NW 123 [2].
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 272-274.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. [Articles on the proposed closure of Stranger's Hall Museum].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Moths still a threat to historic museum. 18 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Things to do in Norfolk this summer. 28 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Restored signal box is back in spotlight.. 14 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Rose marks anniversary. 14 June.
---Article in Serial: Carter, A. 1980. Stranger's Hall. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 360-361.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2013. Donation means Strangers' Hall will be open more often. 5 May.
---Illustration: Smith, R. pre 1990. Strangers' Hall - undercroft and cellar plan. Film.
---Illustration: Smith, R. pre 1990. Strangers' Hall. Principal floor plan. Paper.
---Illustration: Smith, R. pre 1990. Strangers' Hall - pattern of timber-framing and scheme of painting. Film.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997-1999. [Articles on the proposed reopening of Stranger's Hall Museum].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Why our history is still being kept in a box. 9 November.
---Photograph: ERD.
<S1>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
<S2>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1372755.
<S3>Article in Serial: Carter, A. and Smith, R. 1983. Function and Site: Aspects of Norwich Buildings Before 1700. Vernacular Architecture. Vol 14 pp 5-18.
<S4>Article in Serial: Barker, D. 1994. Conservation Work at Strangers Hall. Eavesdropper. Vol 2 p 3.
<S5>Thesis: Smith, R. 1990. An Architectural History of Norwich Buildings, c. 1200 - 1700. Unpublished Thesis. pp 326-327, 391.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Phillips, C. 2004. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Birkett's Building (Strangers' Hall), 4 Charing Cross, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 877.
<S7>Unpublished Report: Kelly, G. I. 2004. Strangers Hall Norwich. A New History. Documentary Research Report.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Friendly team of 'Strangers' with crucial role. 11 June.
<S9>Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF14770.

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