Norfolk Heritage - Norwich Cathedral

Picture (c) by John Ashley PhotographyWork 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.
Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography
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 occupied Brussels.

Home   More Articles