St Ethelbert’s chapel


Original site of St Ethelbert’s with the Ethelbert Gate in the background

The chapel of St Ethelbert was probably located inside the cathedral precinct, but its parish also included buildings outside, suggesting that it preceded the creation of the monastery, c.1100. A geophysical survey has found its likely site under the lawn in front of nos 2-4 The Close. It survived until the summer of 1272 when a combination of bad weather and controversy between the citizens of Norwich and the cathedral led to its suppression. The parishioners were transferred to St Mary in the Marsh by a charter of the bishop dated 8th August. Three days later the simmering tension between the priory and the citizens resulted in riot and the torching of the cathedral and its enclave. Cause and effect are difficult to disentangle here, but a later bishop, John Salmon, created a new chapel of Ethelbert above the gate that bears the saint’s name, perhaps to salve residual local anger; as if to stress the point, it was given direct access from both the cathedral enclosure and from Tombland. For more information, click here: St Ethelbert’s chapel and the riots of 1272. (.pdf)

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