Work on Norwich Cathedral began in 1096 by Bishop
Losinga on the orders of the Pope. It was said that he
was given the task of building the cathedral as a
penance as he had been found guilty of ‘simony’ (he
bribed someone £1,900 in return for being made a
bishop). However much of the building was actually
finished after his death.
During the middle ages a monastery stood in the shadow
of the cathedral containing 60 monks. There was a bloody
riot in 1272 when the citizens fought with the cathedral
monks who tried to impose tolls on the annual fair held
at Tombland market place.
The building is made from a lovely white stone, which
came from Caen in Normandy and was shipped to Norwich
via Great Yarmouth on the River Wensum. The
slender 15th century spire stands at 315 feet (96m) and
is the second tallest in England after Salisbury. The
roof was destroyed in 1463 but the craftsmen of that era
carried out the restoration and their fine work can be
viewed with the aid of strategically placed mirrors.
The bosses (a box carved ornamentation at the
interersection of the roof beams), of which there are
over 1000, show biblical scenes.
The misericords (ancient stalls with hinged seats for
the old and infirm monks) show some various humorous
scenes. They include a man riding a pig, a monk beating
a pupil and a woman pursuing a fox. The Bishop's throne
dates from the 8th century and is truly luxurious.
The cathedral is lit up at night. If you leave the
Cathedral by the south door you will see the simple
grave of Nurse
Edith Cavell who was executed by the Germans in
1915 for helping allied prisoners to escape from