Norwich Street Photographs

Previous street: St Gregory's Alley

St John Maddermarket:
        From Lobster Lane / Pottergate to Charing Cross / Duke St / St Andrew's St
St John's Alley

      East side
St John Maddermarket 1 Ironmongers' Arms PH [1136] 1936-07-16
St John Maddermarket Norfolk House W side [4367] 1955-08-24
St John Maddermarket 15 Golden Lion PH [2789] 1938-09-05
St John Maddermarket 15 S side from Yard [1139] 1936-07-16
St John Maddermarket 17 [2790] 1938-09-05
St John Maddermarket 17 during repairs [4252] 1954-05-26
Mediaeval timber jetty to first floor revealed during 1954 repairs.
St John Maddermarket 19 to 23 [5209] 1968-06-12
St John Maddermarket 21 to 23 [1137] 1936-07-16
        West side
St John Maddermarket 20 [1138] 1936-07-16
St John Maddermarket Shalders' pump [4344] 1955-07-30
At the foot of St John Maddermarket's churchyard still stands a relic of former times - the parish pump. The inscription giving the maker's name is now badly corroded, but it appears to have been a fountain pump patented by one Shalders, whose business was situated in nearby Redwell St. Similar pumps once lined the roads between Cringleford and Wymondham. These were placed there at the beginning of the 19c by the Turnpike Trustees; their specific purpose was to provide water for experiments in roadmaking as well as for laying the dust. Although there is no evidence that they were provided with troughs, it is possible that adjoining ditches were flooded to enable drovers to water their cattle on the long journey to the London market.
The significance of the situation of this one at the Maddermarket, with the land sloping towards it from the adjoining burial ground, was not lost on a former city analyst; he described it as "pure essence of churchyard".
St John Maddermarket Shalders' pump [4421] 1956-03-27
Common pump, "Shalder's Patent Fountain Pump", c1836.

St John's Alley:
        From Pottergate to St John Maddermarket

      West side
St John's Alley Maddermarket Theatre [1150] 1936-07-21
Built as a Roman Catholic Chapel three years after the Catholic Relief Act of 1791 and later used by the Salvation Army. The building was converted into an Elizabethan Theatre by Nugent Monck in 1921. His Norwich Players, founded 1911, moving from the Music House in King St.
St John's Alley 4 to 5 [3279] 1939-10-08
Here in 1939, just beyond the Maddermarket theatre, I photographed a row of three-storey timber-framed dwellings (Nos 4-5) whose first floor projected slightly over the alley. Writing about the parish in 1921, Leonard Bolingbroke described how, coming from Pottergate and "passing under the tower of the church, we get a glimpse of those once very picturesque cottages standing in the church alley. Unfortunately they have been recently sadly defaced by a coating of cement".
A passageway between two of the houses led to a wide yard, surrounded on all sides by equally tall dwellings, some of early Georgian date. This was known as Farnell's Court, named after one who, a century or more ago, had kept a school here. Described as a fine penman, Farnell produced copybooks, which were said to have been used in many of the Norwich schools.
St John's Alley Farnell's Court west side [3280] 1939-10-08
St John's Alley Farnell's Court NE corner [3281] 1939-10-08
St John's Alley Farnell's Court demolition [4203] 1953-08-15
Timber-framed house adjoining court being demolished for extension to Maddermarket Theatre.
St John's Alley Farnell's Court demolition [4204] 1953-08-15
St John's Alley 7 St John Maddermarket 20 [2795] 1938-09-10

St Julian's Alley:
        From King St to Rouen Rd (formerly to St Julian St)
St Julian's Alley 1 [3217] 1939-08-07
Apart from the destruction of St Julian's church, most of the damage in this area during the war was confined to modern business premises. The quaint Tudor dwelling which stood by the south corner of St Julian's Alley with King St, however, was not so fortunate as its more illustrious neighbours, the Old Barge inn, Howard House and the Music House, and was wrecked at the same time as the adjacent church.
St Julian's Alley north side [2802] 1938-09-10
St Julian's south side of tower [B129] 1931-00-00
Opposite Old Barge Yard and Dragon Hall in King St is one of the two entrances to St Julian's Alley. The other "arm" of the lane is a few yards further south and skirts the east end of the churchyard before linking up with the main part to the north of the church. It now opens directly into modern Rouen Rd, but before the area was cleared it led to St Julian's St, the centre of a network of 19c terraced houses.
Many of the buildings around King St were demolished under slum clearance or other redevelopment schemes. Enemy action, however, was the cause of the destruction of St Julian's Church.
To which of the saints named Julian the church is dedicated is uncertain - the parishioners at different times seem to have adopted the one which suited their purpose best.
Ian Hannah, following Blomefield's errors called it "St Julian King and Confessor", but this is really a contraction of the title "St Julian with St Edward King and Confessor". A church of St Edward formerly stood between this one and that of St Etheldreda, the two rectories being united at some time between 1269 and 1305. After the Dissolution St Edward's fell into disuse, and although early in the 18c its ruins were still visible all traces of it have long since vanished.
Before the Second World War St Julian's consisted of an aisleless nave and chancel, north porch, south vestry and a round western tower, the latter considered to be of Saxo-Norman date. In 1940 when a visit was paid by the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, Arthur Whittingham pointed out how its walls were levelled up every foot or so instead of being coursed. Other typical features of that period included blocked circular windows to the east and west and traces of a round-headed west doorway. Although the body of the church appeared to have been rebuilt several centuries later, inspection revealed that the plan and much of the fabric remained from the earlier period. St Julian's, therefore, was probably one of the 29 new churches mentioned in Domesday as having been built in the city between 1065 and 1086.
Most of the interior fittings were of modern date, including the screen, which was made a little too long and had to be set in the chancel arch slightly askew. The original round-headed Saxon or Norman chancel arch was destroyed in about 1460, when it was replaced by one in the contemporary pointed style. At about this time, too, the finely carved bosses of the chancel ceiling were made.
The small octagonal font was of some interest. Dating from the Perpendicular period, it had suffered a certain amount of mutilation at different times. The shaft was covered with shallow panels, once probably containing figures of saints, while the eight panels of the bowls had angels holding shields. These formerly bore painted coats-of-arms, but all traces of these disappeared in 1845 when workmen scraped off numerous coats of whitewash and with them the remains of the figures around the stem.
Inside the tower was one bell inscribed AVE GRACIA PLENA DOMINUS TECUM. On its crown were three shields, the mark of the 15c bellfounder Richard Brayser.
During the early hours of Saturday morning, 27th June 1942, German raiders flew over the city causing widespread damage, mainly by fire, particularly in the St Stephen's St and Ber St area. In King St high-explosive bombs caused the destruction of St Julian's. A shapeless heap of rubble was all that was left of the tower; of the remainder of the church only the north and east walls were left standing.
Thus did it remain until nearly ten years later, when work was put in hand to clear away the rubble and rebuild the church. As much as possible of the surviving fabric was retained, in particular the north wall of the nave with its circular Norman window. A 15c font brought from the redundant All Saints' church took the place of that which had been broken beyond repair, while a Norman doorway from the neighbouring church of St Michael-at-Thorn, gutted during the same raid, replaced one of similar date, which had been sketched and etched by John Sell Cotman. This now gives access from the nave to a sacristy built on foundations, laid bare in 1906, of what was thought at the time to have been the cell of Dame Julian, the 14c anchoress or religious recluse, famous for the series of visions vouchsafed to her. Descriptions of these visions have been published in several editions under the title of Revelations of Divine Love.
St Julian's tower south side [0154] 1934-07-05
Pre-conquest round tower.
St Julian's King St from NE [0155] 1934-07-05
Norman except for modern upper part to east wall.
St Julian's Mother Julian memorial tablet [0163] 1934-07-08
Commemorating The Anchoress Julian, who lived in a cell attached to the church c1342-1430.
St Julian's interior view east [1870] 1937-08-12
Screen is modern.
St Julian's 15c font [1871] 1937-08-12
St Julian's air raid damage [3626] 1946-04-21
Partial destruction in the blitz of 27th June 1942.
St Julian's reconstruction south side [4078] 1952-07-06
St Julian's reconstruction north side [4080] 1952-07-06
Much of the original north wall and lower stages of the tower were retained in the 1952 reconstruction.
St Julian's reconstructed interior view E [4568] 1960-08-06
With Norman doorway taken from blitzed church of St Michael at Thorn.
St Julian's reconstructed from SW [4572] 1960-08-13
St Julian's reconstructed from SE [4573] 1960-08-13
St Julian's reconstructed from north [4670] 1962-06-11

St Leonard's Rd:
        From Rosary Rd to Wolfe Rd
Gas Hill, Telegraph Lane
St Leonard's Priory flint wall Kett's Hill [6454] 1987-04-25
A wildlife park known as Kett's Heights has recently been formed on a hillside between Kett's Hill and Gas Hill, overlooking Bishop Bridge and the Cathedral. Here at its highest point a flint wall is all that remains of the chapel of St Michael-on-the-Mount. According to the Registrum Primum of Norwich Cathedral Priory, in 1101 Herbert de Losinga, the first Bishop of Norwich, was granted the manor of Thorpe and Thorpe wood by Henry I. There he built the church and priory of St Leonard and, nearby, the chapel of St Michael. The latter was to replace a church on Tombland having the same dedication, which the monks had pulled down in order to make an entrance to the Cathedral monastery.
St Leonard's priory was a cell to the Cathedral, and while certain of the monks were placed here permanently others were here only while the cathedral church was being built. One of their duties was to perform daily service in St Michael's chapel; out of their revenues they had to find a scholar and pay for an exhibition for him at one of the universities.
At the dissolution of the monasteries Henry VIII granted the priory to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, whose son the Earl of Surrey built a magnificent mansion here known as Mount Surrey. He did not live long to enjoy it, for after falling out of favour he was beheaded in 1547.
Two years later Robert Kett (illustrated in bronze on one of the City Hall doors) and his rebels encamped here. The priory they largely destroyed, but Mount Surrey they used as a place of detention for their more important captives. Little now remains of the priory. Walter Rye, who owned the site at the beginning of the 20c, carried out excavations there and uncovered the entrance to the gate tower, but he found very little else. Of St Michael's Chapel, later familiarly known as Kett's Castle, only the flint wall remains - tidied up from the rugged appearance it presented when made the subject of a painting by John Sell Cotman in 1810. Supported on one side by a brick wall, once part of a greenhouse, it now stands isolated and a prominent reminder of the city's past.
St Leonard's Priory flint wall Gas Hill [1504] 1937-03-25
St Leonard's Rd 113 priory garden archway [5086] 1966-09-15
St Leonard's Rd 34 site of priory [1502] 1937-03-25

St Martin at Oak Wall Lane:
        From Oak St to St Augustine's St
St Martin at Oak Wall Lane former Swan PH [0946] 1936-05-12
West end of lane.
St Martin at Oak Wall Lane view north [0023] 1934-01-28
St Martin at Oak Wall Lane from inside city [6387] 1986-06-19

St Martin's Lane:
        From Pitt St to Oak St
Quakers Lane

      North side
St Martin's Lane 9 [2772] 1938-09-02
St Martin's Lane 9 to 11 [0867] 1936-04-10
St Martin's Lane 11 [2771] 1938-09-02
St Martin's Lane Cooke's Hospital [4665] 1962-06-11
Originally built by Robert and Thomas Cooke at Rose Lane in 1692. Transferred here 1892.
St Martin's Lane 47 and Quaker Lane E side [1491] 1936-10-05
Former Pineapple PH at 47 St Martin's Lane (right). 17c weavers' cottages in Quaker Lane (left).
St Martin's Lane 47 during restoration [5363] 1974-01-06
St Martin's Lane 47 rear and Quakers Lane [5364] 1974-01-06
Former Pineapple PH (left) and 17c weavers' cottages (right) being restored.
St Martin's Lane 49 to 55 [0866] 1936-04-10
St Martin's Lane 59 [2770] 1938-09-01
St Martin's Lane 61 to 69 [0865] 1936-04-10
St Martin's Lane 63 to 69 [2768] 1938-09-01
St Martin's Lane 69 [2769] 1938-09-01
To the north of St Martin's church in Oak Street lies St Martin's Lane, where an archaeological excavation was carried out in 1977 by the Norwich Survey team on the corner opposite the churchyard. Documentary evidence established that site fronting this end of the lane had been occupied by at least 1300, when it was described as a messuage with buildings belonging to Thomas de Lingcole, a tanner. No doubt the inscription in St Mary's church to Thomas de Lingcole commemorates the same person. By the mid-14c it had become a textile-working tenement, and towards the end of the 15c it was owned by Gregory Clerk, a mercer who was Sheriff in 1477. This was not his residence, for he lived in a mansion that survived in nearby Dial Yard until about 1940. His widow bequeathed "her dwelling place" and the St Martin's Lane property to her son, also Gregory, who was Mayor in 1505 and died in 1516. Archaeological evidence suggested that this was rebuilt, probably after the death of the younger Gregory, to survive as 67-69 St Martin's Lane.
Occupied by weavers in the 17c, the building had become vandalised and derelict by 1980, and concern was expressed that steps should be taken to restore it. In support of restoration it was said that whereas 200 years ago Norwich had over 4000 such cottages, now there were only five of the kind left in the city. Nevertheless, it was decided that deterioration had gone too far, that it would cost over £40,000 to put the property in order, and that it would have to be virtually rebuilt. In July 1981, therefore, it was agreed that it should be demolished; it was cleared away soon after.
St Martin's Lane 69 rear [5599] 1976-07-26
From site of Arabian Horse Yard, Oak St. See also Oak St.
        South side
St Martin's Lane 6 to 12 [2786] 1938-09-02
St Martin's Lane Springfield's Court view N [2796] 1938-09-10
West side.
St Martin's Lane Springfield's Court view S [2797] 1938-09-10
West side.

St Martin's Palace Plain:
        From Palace St to Bishopgate

      North side
St Martin's Palace Plain 1 [5194] 1968-05-23
St Martin's Palace Plain 1 to 4 [0965] 1936-05-17
39 Palace St on left.
St Martin's Palace Plain 1 to 7 [5221] 1968-07-04
St Martin's Palace Plain 6 White Lion PH [2776] 1938-09-02
The Wig and Pen public house (formerly the White Lion) presents a little puzzle. On either side of the first-floor centre window are two shields, illustrated and described in Muskett's Remnants of Antiquity in Norwich as follows:
"Two stone carvings of angels, supporting escutcheons, in front of the White Lion public house, on St Martin's Palace Plain. The shields are quite plain, having neither arms nor date; their history cannot therefore now be traced."
Charles Muskett published his book in 1845, and at some time after that date the shields were given the arms that they now bear. I took my photograph in 1955; wondering whose arms they were and how they came to be put up, I made inquiries of Steward and Patteson, the brewers who then owned the house. They were unable to help except to say that they appeared on a photograph of the house of about 1890 that they possessed.
St Martin's Palace Plain 6 shields of arms [4375] 1955-09-02
Stone carvings angels holding Shields of Arms of Glenham (left) and Yorke (right).
St Martin's Palace Plain 7 Cotman House [2777] 1938-09-02
John Sell Cotman 1782-1842, one of the most famous of the Norwich School of Painters, lived in this house for some years.
St Martin's Palace Plain 7 Georgian doorway [4374] 1955-09-01
St Martin's Palace Plain 7 to 9 rear [5220] 1968-07-03
From Pye's Yard, Bedding Lane.
St Martin's Palace Plain 8 [2778] 1938-09-02
St Martin's Palace Plain 8 to 9 rear [6604] 1990-04-24
From Pye's Yard.
St Martin's Palace Plain 9 rear Pye's Yard [1687] 1937-06-05
St Martin's Palace Plain 9 to 10 [0967] 1936-05-17
St Martin's Palace Plain Pye's Yard E side [1686] 1937-06-05
View north.
St Martin's Palace Plain 10 restoration [3990] 1951-05-12
St Martin's Palace Plain 10 restored [4011] 1951-06-29
Renovated 1951. Timber framework revealed by removal of plaster facing.
St Martin's Palace Plain 10 oriel window [5430] 1975-06-15
In 1962 when 17 and 18 Palace Plain were demolished, the stone oriel was carefully dismantled and stored, to be re-erected some eight years later in the gable wall of No 10, but a stone's throw from its original position.
Further light was shed on the history of the site when in 1981 the Norfolk Archaeological Unit carried out excavations here. Details of the findings were published in Digging under the Doorstep. It is sufficient to say here that when the footings of Calthorpe House were located "the building proved to be but one wing of a larger, earlier structure built in the late 14c above substantial flint foundations". Digging yet deeper, the archaeologists made a completely unexpected discovery - the lower part of a rectangular Norman house (c1140-70) situated at right angles to the street and measuring externally 17 by 9 metres (56 by 30 feet). So important was this find considered, that arrangements were made for it to be preserved within a basement under the new Magistrates' Courts.
St Martin's Palace Plain 17 to 18 [0957] 1936-05-12
To the north of St Martin's Church where the Magistrates' Courts now stand, were Beehive Yard and the Beehive public house - an interesting little group of buildings. No 17 was a three-storeyed Georgian mansion with an unusual gabled roof line, while Nos 18 and 18a (once the Beehive tavern) were of mixed origin. The portion facing the church was of the 18c, two storeyed, its walls a mixture of flint and brick, at one time rendered over with cement; sash windows, three above and two below, with a modest central doorway, and pantiled roof. In the yard to the east, however, was quite a different picture. Here was a large Tudor oriel of stone extending through two storeys - once part of a mediaeval house. Writing of this in the Local Miscellany column of the Eastern Evening News in 1938, "S.E.G." (Colonel S. E. Glendenning) stated:
"the big mullioned window is evidently the oriel of a "Great Hall", and it is probable that the structure of the hall is incorporated in the present house, much of which is ancient. The late Mr W.R.Rudd, who was careful about his facts, used to refer to this as the city house of the well-known Calthorpe family, who, according to Blomefield, held property here in 1492 onwards. Jane, the wife of "Sir Phylyppe", a virtuous lady, who "Gave to the Poore and prayd for the Rytche", was buried in the church in 1550."
St Martin's Palace Plain Beehive Yard oriel [0995] 1936-06-09
St Martin's Palace Plain Beehive Yard oriel [3370] 1940-04-21
St Martin's Palace Plain 17 excavations [6208] 1981-07-18
In 1981 a dig brought to light a wall of coursed flint rubble 55 feet long going west from limestone quoins .It appears to have formed part of a Norman stone building with its gable end to the river. The arched opening was at the base of a cesspit turret.
St Martin's Palace Plain view of Gas Works [4904] 1965-05-01
St Martin's Palace Plain Magistrates' Court [6417] 1986-07-16
Erected 1985. Designed by Frank Tucker, County Architect.
St Martin's Palace Plain 23 Cupid Bow PH [2102] 1938-03-03
Former Cupid and Bow Inn.
St Martin's Palace Plain east side vicarage [0956] 1936-05-12
St Martin at Palace south side [0021] 1934-01-21
The neighbouring church of St Martin-at-Palace was another victim of redundancy, and after some interior reorganisation was officially opened as the Norfolk Probation Centre on 16th February 1990. Mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086, St Martin's retains some long-and-short work in the eastern angles of the chancel that probably dates from that time. Apart from this, the church was largely rebuilt in the 15c, the work supposedly being completed by Walter Lyhart, Bishop of Norwich from 1446 to 1472. Dr J.C.Cox, writing in 1911, mentioned that Lyhart's rebus appeared on the south doorway, but it does so no longer.
The church now consists of a square western tower, a nave with north and south aisles, a south porch with room above, and a chancel. The upper part of the tower fell in 1783, and all but one of the five bells were sold to pay for the repairs. Sillett's view of the church in 1828 shows it much as it is today, except that the tower was then somewhat lower; it was raised to its present height in 1874.
St Martin at Palace east end [4066] 1952-03-20
St Martin at Palace east end [6634] 1990-08-22
Saxon "long and short" work in the angles of the Chancel.
St Martin at Palace east end [6700] 1991-07-07
St Martin at Palace from NW [B140] 1931-00-00
St Martin at Palace south porch [6701] 1991-07-07
St Martin at Palace interior view east [2199] 1938-03-26
St Martin at Palace east window [2203] 1938-03-26
St Martin at Palace interior view west [2202] 1938-03-26
During the Second World War the building sustained some damage, chiefly to its stained glass. This was later repaired, and some of the old figures went into the new windows. On 3rd July 1952, Bishop Herbert officiated at a service of dedication to mark the completion of the restoration and the installation of some new furnishings. By 1973, the parish having been united with that of neighbouring St James's, services were no longer being held here and the organ was transferred to the church of St Mary and St Andrew at Horsham St Faith. This was probably the same organ that was purchased in 1863 for £90 and renovated and enlarged in 1887. The single bell was at a later date sent to St Mary's church, Happisburgh, who in 1985 had it recast into a treble.
The interior of the church, well kept when I took photographs here in 1938, had a number of features of interest to the visitor.
St Martin at Palace early 15c font [2200] 1938-03-26
The early 15c font at the west and of the nave had an octagonal bowl with traceried panels and a stem supported by eight engaged shafts. Above it hung a splendid 17c spider candelabrum of brass.
St Martin at Palace Calthorpe tomb [2201] 1938-03-26
At the east end of the north aisle was, and still is, the altar tomb of Elizabeth Calthorpe with its several coats-of-arms showing her connection with many leading Norfolk families, including that of Anne Boleyn. In a glass case on its altar top was a great rarity, a chained book.
St Martin at Palace candelabrum over font [2204] 1938-03-26
On leaving the church we may spare a thought for the men buried here who were killed during the skirmishes of Kett's rebellion in 1549. Among them was Lord Sheffield, four of whose knights were buried in the chancel of the neighbouring church of SS Simon and Jude. A tablet on the opposite side of the road was positioned to mark the spot where Lord Sheffield fell.

St Martin's Rd:
        From Bakers Rd / Oak St to Aylsham Rd
Drayton Rd

      West side
St Martin's Rd 58 to 62 [0945] 1936-05-12
Wensum Park fountain and shelter [B155] 1931-00-00
Originally a refuse tip, then laid out with formal gardens and opened 9th September 1925.
Wensum Park pathway and roses [B156] 1931-00-00
Wensum Park lily pond with rustic bridge [B163] 1931-00-00
Wensum Park fountain view towards N Heigham [B164] 1931-00-00
Wensum Park frozen lily pond [B471] 1933-01-29
Wensum frozen over at Wensum Park [B472] 1933-01-29

St Mary's Plain:
        From Pitt St / Muspole St / Duke St to Oak St
Rosemary Lane

      South side
St Mary's Plain St Mary's Baptist chapel [3261] 1939-09-12
St Mary's Plain with its ancient round-towered church and grassy churchyard provides a welcome oasis in this semi-industrial, semi-residential area. Although both church and adjacent Pykerell's house suffered damage during the war, both have since been well restored.
Less fortunate was St Mary's Baptist church on the south side of the plain, whose history is an interesting one. It was during the 17c that the Baptist movement first came into being, at a time when the Free Churches could neither own property nor indeed have any legal existence, meetings having to be held in private houses under the cloak of secrecy. With the passing of the Toleration Act of 1689, however, premises were hired for the purpose until 1744, when the community of 50 poor men and women purchased the present site in St Mary's parish, a brick and flint meeting house adapted from existing buildings being opened there for worship in the following year. In 1812 under Joseph Kinghorn's pastorship a new chapel took its place, this chapel being enlarged in 1839 under William Brock and again in 1886. Other notable 19c ministers included George Gould and J.H.Shakespeare, neither of whom could have witnessed such troubled scenes in the building's history as occurred during the ministry of the Reverend Gilbert Laws.
About one hour after the close of the morning service on Sunday, 10th September 1939, a fire spread from the organ gallery by way of the choir pews to the fine vaulted ceiled roof. This very soon crashed down, damaging the pulpit (one of the treasures of the church) and many of the pews. Sufficient of the building remained, however, to enable it to be reconstructed to its original design, Stanley Wearing being appointed architect for the work. Such furniture as had to be replaced was also made to harmonise with the older work, pitchpine being used to match the old materials. The reopening of the church took place on Sunday, 22nd September 1940, a new organ being dedicated on 22nd February 1941.
The life of the rebuilt chapel was a very brief one, for during the early morning of 27th June 1942, it shared the fate of many other well-known city buildings and was totally gutted by fire. The adjoining schoolrooms were also destroyed. After this event arrangements were made for Sunday services to be held in the Stuart Hall, arrangements which continued until 1950 when services were transferred to the newly built school hall in Duke St. On 5th July 1951, the Reverend Gilbert Laws laid the foundation stone of the new church (Stanley Wearing was again the architect) and the opening service was held one year later on Saturday, 27th September 1952.
St Mary's Plain St Mary's Baptist chapel [6467] 1987-05-28
Rebuilt 1951-52, architect Stanley J.Wearing.
St Mary's Plain 7 to 9 [0840] 1936-03-31
For Pykerell's House see Rosemary Lane.
St Mary's Plain 7 to 9 from NW [4250] 1954-05-26
St Mary's Plain 7 to 9 from SW [4249] 1954-05-26
Showing timber frame with mud infill.
        North side
St Mary Coslany S side from St Mary's Plain [B137] 1931-00-00
St Mary Coslany S side from St Mary's Plain [1922] 1937-08-24
In addition to the Baptist church and a Zoar chapel there is, on the north side, a parish church. The latter is by far the oldest of the three; its round tower built by Saxon labour some 900 years ago, though the remainder of the church was largely rebuilt about 400 years later.
The future of St Mary's church has been placed in jeopardy on a number of past occasions. At the end of the 19c it had been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair that services were held only irregularly, and it is said that in rainy weather umbrellas were a necessity inside as well as outside the church. When the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society visited there in 1898 it was, according to their annual report, "sad to see the state of ruin into which this fine building has been allowed to fall, and the hope was expressed that it would soon be re-opened for the benefit of the large population amidst which it stands". Some ten years later that hope had been achieved: the stonework had been repaired, the roof put in order and the semi-collapsed 14c belfry taken down. At the same time the true date of the tower was revealed when the four original belfry windows were discovered and unblocked, revealing double-angular heads supported on round central shafts.
St Mary Coslany circular tower [3425] 1940-05-19
Pre-conquest round tower.
St Mary Coslany from NE [1719] 1937-06-17
Another occasion when St Mary's was in danger came on 2nd August 1942, when in the early hours of the morning fire bombs ignited the roof timbers at the "crossing" of nave and transepts. The blaze was fortunately extinguished before too much damage had been done, and after repairs had been carried out and the walls colourwashed a re-opening service was held in June 1950. After that, the church was seldom used for its original purpose, and in 1974 it was declared redundant.
In 1979 plans were drawn up to convert the church into a theatre, to be named the Luke Hansard playhouse after the reporter of parliamentary proceedings who was baptised here, but because of lack of support this idea was not taken up. A year later the Friends of Norwich Churches decided to rent St Mary's from the Norwich Historic Churches Trust for their new headquarters. They hoped to keep it as a "church of mediaeval times" and to hold concerts, meetings and exhibitions. It was officially opened as such in June 1981, by Lady Harrod, but after only two years the Friends had to give it up on financial grounds. Eventually towards the end of 1985 the building was opened as a craft and design centre, which use not only enables the public to patronise local initiative but permits them to enjoy the surroundings of one of the city's most delightful churches. This use is perhaps all the more appropriate because a number of the Norwich School of Painters have had connections with the church. John Crome was married here in 1792, and several of his children were baptised here. John Sell Cotman was also baptised here in 1782, and Robert Ladbroke was buried in its churchyard in 1843.
St Mary Coslany south porch [6638] 1990-09-03
St Mary Coslany interior view east [1907] 1937-08-21
26 feet 3 inches wide with archbraced roof.
St Mary Coslany panelled chancel roof [1909] 1937-08-21
Of outstanding interest are the archbraced chancel roof, with its traceried panels, gilded on the bay over the altar, and the fine 15c roof over the "crossing", with its remarkable arrangement of timbers adorned with carved angels and bosses.
St Mary Coslany crossing roof [1911] 1937-08-21
Intersection of nave and transept roofs with great cross ribs. Central boss of rayed figure of the Virgin.
St Mary Coslany font and 18c cover [1906] 1937-08-21
St Mary Coslany pulpit with hourglass [1908] 1937-08-21
15c pulpit.
St Mary Coslany Thomas de Lingcole tablet [1905] 1937-08-21
St Mary Coslany Thomas de Lingcole tablet [3767] 1949-04-28
When I took photographs here in 1937 my attention was particularly drawn to the 15c pulpit, carved with the linen-fold pattern and supporting an hourglass; to the mural tablet on the south wall of the chancel depicting Clement Hyrne, who died in 1596, his wife and three children; and to a much older inscription on the west wall of the nave which was then in a sadly deteriorating condition in spite (or perhaps because) of a protective glass frame placed over it earlier in the 20c. This old inscription records in Norman-French that Thomas de Lingcole had given a wax taper and a lamp to the altar of the Holy Trinity; he was a tanner and bailiff of the city who died in 1298.
St Mary Coslany Clement Hyrne mural tablet [1910] 1937-08-21
Clement Hyrne, died 23 September 1596.
St Mary Coslany bells St Catherine's Mile X [1731] 1937-06-26
The six bells which were formerly here were all cast in Norwich. The two largest were late pre-Reformation; two others were made by John Brend in 1640 and the other two by Brasyer. Because of their unusually small size they have been called a "toy" peal. From 1909 until 1939 the church was in regular use for Sunday school and children's services, but the bells were not used; in November 1936, an application was made to the Norwich Consistory Court to have them sold to the modern church of St Catherine, Mile Cross. There they have been hung "dead"; that in to say, they may be chimed but not swung. It is unlikely they will provoke the local inhabitants into wishing upon the ringer a fate once desired for the Mancroft campanologists, whose activities led an old parish clerk to record the following lines:
Ye rascally ringers - inveterate foes,
Disturbers of those who are fond of repose;
I wish, for the peace and quiet of these lands,
That ye had round your necks what ye pull with your hands.
St Mary Coslany bells St Catherine's Mile X [1732] 1937-06-26
St Mary's Alley 3 to 4 [1430] 1936-09-20
For 1 to 2 St Mary's Alley see 6 to 8 Pitt St.
St Mary's Alley 5 St Mary's House [3192] 1939-07-30
One-time residence of Thomas Osborn Springfield, silk-throwster, Sheriff 1827, Mayor 1829 and 1836.
St Mary's Alley 5 Georgian doorway [2090] 1938-02-24
Since being bisected by the Inner Link road, Pitt St, which runs parallel to St George's, has had its southern section renamed as part of Duke St. On its western side St Mary's churchyard forms a pleasant open space, once overlooked on the north by a mansion occupied earlier in the 20c by the Norwich branch of the Boot and Shoe Operatives' Union. Built in the 18c, the three-storey house of brick and pantile construction, with a comparatively modest-looking pedimented doorway, was typical of the period.
Perhaps its most notable resident was Thomas Osborn Springfield, Sheriff in 1827 and Mayor in 1829 and again in 1836, when he became the first Mayor under the new charter. Born in 1782, he rose from being a small watch and clock maker in Colegate to becoming the head of a large firm of silk manufacturers with establishments in both Norwich and London. After a somewhat colourful career in local politics he died on 24th April 1858, aged 75 and was buried in the Rosary cemetery. His likeness, painted by Philip Westcott, is one of the many civic portraits in the city's unrivalled collection, mainly housed in St Andrew's and Blackfriars' Halls.

St Miles Alley:
        From Colegate to Oak St
Rosemary Lane
St Miles Alley 1 [0789] 1936-03-07
St Miles Alley 1 [3290] 1939-10-22
St Miles Alley 1 during restoration [5361] 1974-01-06
St Miles Alley 1 restored [5372] 1974-05-27
St Miles Alley 1 restored [5434] 1975-07-03
St Miles Alley 2 to 4 south side [0793] 1936-03-16
St Miles Alley 2 to 4 [6419] 1986-08-06
St Miles Alley 2 to 4 rear from Rosemary La [0843] 1936-04-09
St Miles Alley 19c Mission Hall [7748] 2000-05-05

Next street: St Peter's St

Text and photographs copyright George Plunkett

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