Author Archives: Norwich Medieval Churches

About Norwich Medieval Churches

Studying the Medieval churches of Norwich and celebrating their contribution to our fine, vibrant city. @medievalnorwich

SS Simon and Jude

Just some of the details to be found inside this very special Norwich parish church.

St Gregory

The church of St Gregory is at once one of the most magnificent and most mysterious in Norwich. The parish’s boundary is the only one of the five parishes which abut the river between St John Maddermarket and St Swithin to extend south of St Giles/Broad Street. It may have pre-existed St Peter Mancroft and St Giles, constructed c. 1070 and late 11th century respectively. The building which survives today has a nave design of the 1380s and the high altar, situated in a newly built chancel, was probably dedicated in 1401.


‘Seeing Through Time: the painted screen from St Gregory’s, Norwich’ This 10 minute film shows the work undertaken by skilled conservators to clean and study the 15th century painted screen, with commentary and explanation by members of the research team.

St Peter Southgate


‘St Peter Southgate Church, Norwich’ by Joseph Stannard. Copyright Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery/Norfolk Museums Service

St Peter Southgate was the southern-most parish church inside Norwich’s city walls at the far end of King Street. Located in an area historically associated with fishermen the church’s dedication was pertinent to its location and congregation. The church was rebuilt in the second quarter of the 14th century with additions in the early 16th century. Having fallen into disrepair it was demolished in the 1880s.

º the-lost-church-of-st-peter-southgate.pdf

St Botolph

St Botolph was a 7th-century East Anglian saint, traditionally associated with the pre-Conquest monastic community at Icanho (probably Iken near Snape in Suffolk). Like Botolph churches elsewhere in northern Europe, the four London churches dedicated to the saint were located next to gateways in the city wall, at boundaries where merchant paid tolls. The position of the lost church of St Botolph in Norwich therefore is intriguing.

Site of St Botolph's church, Millard & Manning 1830

Site of St Botolph’s, detail from Millard and Manning’s map of Norwich (1830)


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)

St George Colegate

St George Colegate conveys a spatial harmony and unity of aesthetic that implies a single, concerted building campaign, though work in fact spanned about 70 years. The view from the south shows the impressive west tower rising high above a nave characterised by a consistent use of flint at aisle level and an ashlar clad clearstorey. Inside, the arcade is relatively low (just over 17’), noticeably less than others of the period. Each arcade bay supports two clearstorey windows, but the lack of any vertical moulding joining the two levels and the height of the wall separating them encourages a reading of the whole as three horizontal layers rather than as a series of vertical compartments. This is further enhanced by the width of the nave and the low pitch of the roof, which adds to the elegant and restful effect. Most unusually, a fairly uniform window design, a three-light division with a central ogee, is used almost throughout the building, in chancel, nave and clearstorey.

St Mary Coslany


The oldest parts of the present church are the 12th-century round west tower and the adjacent nave west wall, on which can be seen the probable height of the original nave and the slope of its gable roof. The nave today is substantially wider and higher than the 12th-century building and is likely the result of a 14th-century enlargement which also included the chancel. The window openings and their tracery is, however, largely of the 15th-century. Building of the transept was being paid for and the resulting chapels furnished in the mid-1460s; this was the last major extension of the church.