Norwich Cathedral Part IV: Cloisters

At the south east corner of the nave, next to the south transept, is the more spectacular of two doors leading from the priory cloisters into the cathedral church. This is called the Prior’s Door.  The door dates to about 1300 and has a finely carved arch decorated with thin piers at its sides and decorated recesses in the arch. These recesses contain statues of Christ at the top, John the Baptist and possibly Aaron to the left, and David and Moses bearing a scroll detailing the Ten Commandments to the right. To the right of the doorway are three sedilia, or seats, recessed into the wall of the cloister. The wear and polishing of the stone from feet and bottoms is very noticeable!


The buildings around the south, west and east sides of the cloister contain remnants of twelfth-century masonry, including arcading, and the western buildings retain five circular windows with splayed openings. The majority of the cloister, however, dates from the late thirteenth to early fifteenth centuries.


The north walk contains beautiful Elizabethan wall paintings of the Coats of Arms of dignitaries who were associated with the 1578 visit of Elizabeth I.


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On the green at the centre of the cloister is a labyrinth built in 2002 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.


Difficult to see though unless you have a view from above!

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

20 thoughts on “Norwich Cathedral Part IV: Cloisters”

  1. Thanks for such a detailed look at this cathedral, Jude. You could publish your own guide book!
    The wall paintings are still in such great condition, considering their age. I presume that they have been restored at some time.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. They really are Cathy. I gravitate towards the cloisters, find them such peaceful places and imagine the slap of the sandals; the swish of the robes.

  2. You various post from Norwich Cathedral are very good, and detailed, Jude. Maybe you should let the office in Norwich have a look at them?

  3. I confess I had to actually look up the word ‘cloisters’. It’s one of those words I’ve seen batted around forever and always associated it with secluded / segregated religious followers. I had no idea it also referred to the quadrangle produced by 4 walls.

    The Coats of Arms are quite striking and I assume have been retouched over the years. Most interesting is the 2nd last photo with the lion and deer sticking out their tongues. Wonder what that’s all about!! 🙂

    1. Ah, now I can tell you a bit about the tongue-pullers. There is a lot of symbolic code in medieval art and there is a belief that tongue-pullers may represent death or blasphemous and heretical behaviour. Or simply trying to be rude. A possible reason why we tell children it is rude to stick out their tongues!

    1. Thank you Gilly. I think I had the prime lens on so I had limited options for the composition. It certainly changes the way I take photographs.

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