Picture courtesy of City
Norwich lies at the heart of rural East Anglia. It was the Anglo-Saxons
who first made their homes on gravel terraces beside the River Wensum,
and it was from one of their settlements, which bore the name Northwic,
that the city got its name. At the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066,
Norwich was one of the most important boroughs in the kingdom, and even
had its own mint. There was a thriving market on Tombland (the name
means an open space) with a variety of local goods and produce, including
North Sea herring, as well as pottery, cloth and furs from the Continent.
Richard I had made Norwich a city in 1194, and in 1404 a charter allowed it to have its own mayor, two sheriffs and 24 aldermen, who were elected for life. The wealthy merchants who ran the city became increasingly powerful, and the Cow Tower, the Guildhall and almost all the city’s churches were rebuilt between 1350 and 1530. Weaving was the most important of the 130 trades being followed in the city at the beginning of the 14th century, and within 100 years Norwich was the main center of worsted manufacture in the country. The importance of the cloth trade in Norwich is seen in the variety of allied trades present in the city. Dyers, bleachers, fullers, and shearmen were concentrated on the western side of the city. Moreover, there existed an important market called Maddermarket, which dealt with dyestuffs in the city’s cloth trade. In 1427, a large cloth merchant’s warehouse, now known as Dragon Hall, was built on King Street.
courtesy of City
The city was an important commercial outlet for goods to northern Europe.
The buildings in Elm Hill in the picture below were originally homes
to weavers, who worked at their looms in attics lit by wide dormer
The church of St. Julian was almost totally destroyed
by wartime bombing in 1942, only part of the north wall surviving.
(You can see the round Saxon windows in the photo). It was
rebuilt in 1953 on the original foundations using parts from other bombed
Medieval Church and Its Writings
University of Saint Thomas–Saint Paul, MN
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