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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Norfolk

by Peter Kessler, 15 January 2020

Norwich Part 1: Churches of General Norwich

Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk

Norwich Cathedral covers extensive grounds at the heart of Norwich City centre between Queen Street and Palace Street. Its construction was begun in 1096 by the Norman bishop of Thetford, Herbert de Losinga. A monastery was attached, with its first monks coming from Canterbury. So ambitious were the plans that the nave had only just been begun when the bishop died in 1119. It was left to his successor to finish the nave, and to his successor to add the fine tower.

St Andrew's Hall and Blackfriar's Hall, Norwich, Norfolk

St Andrew's Hall and Blackfriar's Hall fill the north-eastern corner of the St George's Street and Princes Street junction. They were originally constructed for the Friars Penitential Friary in the 1200s, but were largely rebuilt by the Dominicans in the 1300s and 1400s. The friary church was converted into municipal halls around 1540, and the buildings restored and altered in 1861 and 1863. St Andrew's Hall was originally the friary nave, completed in 1449.

St Andrew's Church, Norwich, Norfolk

St Andrew's Church is at the south-west corner of St Andrew's Street and St Andrew's Hill. It was built thanks to the city's late medieval wealth, with the work being undertaken almost entirely in one continuous strand between the 1470s-1510s. Unusually, perhaps, the tower was built first, while nave and chancel form a single unit, with no chancel arch. Gradually hemmed in by secular buildings, it was only re-exposed on this side when the road was widened for trams.

Church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, Norfolk

The Church of St Peter Mancroft lies between Millennium Plain and Haymarket at the centre of the city. Like the market place in which it stands, it was a Norman foundation, built in 1075 by Ralph de Guader, earl of Norfolk. The origin of the dedication is uncertain, originally being St Peter & St Paul Church. The second name was eventually dropped (probably for convenience), while 'mancroft' may derive from the Old English for 'common field' or the Latin for 'great field'.

St Peter's Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk

St Peter's Wesleyan Methodist Chapel stood on the western side of Lady Lane, now under the southern central side of The Forum as shown here. It was opened in 1824, gaining its name from the parish (see above). Its members branched out to Park Lane in 1894 (below), but Lady Lane was gradually prepared for urban rebuilding, with the chapel's school being compulsorily purchased. The chapel was eventually cleared in the 1950s to allow for the ill-fated central library build.

St Stephen's Church, Norwich, Norfolk

St Stephen's Church stands on the southern side of Rampant Horses Street, opposite the William Booth Street turning. Its first documented mention is a royal charter of the 1100s when Norwich Cathedral provided a priest to serve the parish. In the early 1500s major rebuilding work was needed. The chancel was re-built around 1522 and the nave in 1547. Much of the stained glass was lost during the English Civil War when a nearby powder magazine exploded.

Park Lane Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk

Park Lane Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built at the north-west corner of Park Lane and Avenue Road, to the west of Norwich city centre (this postcard shows it circa 1900). The Wesleyans had built their first chapel on Lady Lane in the city centre (above) but, by the end of the century, resources and confidence existed to open up a second chapel here. The Park Lane chapel opened in 1894 and soon found a thriving congregation to fill its own Late Victorian building.

St Peter's Park Lane Methodist Church, Norwich, Norfolk

By the 1930s the city was gearing up for a massive rebuilding programme. The Lady Lane site quickly became less favourable as the inner city population moved out. The now-united Methodists decided to build St Peter's Park Lane Methodist Church on the corner, next to Park Lane chapel (above). It opened in 1939, built to the designs of Cecil Yelf. The old chapel became a church hall - largely rebuilt in the 1960s. Sadly that new building will be offered as private apartments in 2020.

Three photos on this page kindly contributed by Jo Lewis, two by Neil Webber, and one each by Elliot Brown and Mira66, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, plus one from the History Files Collection. Additional information by Mira66.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.