The most complete Norman Cathedral in England and one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe, Norwich Cathedral is one of England’s finest Cathedrals and dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity.
I showed you the two dramatic entrance gates in to the cathedral grounds from Tombland. Now it is time to walk through and have a look at the cathedral precinct which occupies the former monastery. It is very difficult to get the entire building in frame and the addition of a rather ugly visitors’ entrance is not helpful and certainly (IMO) not sympathetic to the 900 year old Norman cathedral.
The Cathedral Close, an area surrounding the Cathedral, contains more than 80 listed buildings. The Upper end of ‘The Close’ as it is known, is a large green space stretching along the west front of the Cathedral. The Norwich School (independent) occupies one end and we were lucky enough to be able to enter the Grade 1 listed school chapel as it was open for the Historic Open weekend. Built in 1316-1320 it was originally a chantry chapel where monks said prayers four times a day to save the soul of Bishop Salmon who was a very rich Norwich bishop. The architectural style is transitional between Gothic Decorated and Perpendicular.
On leaving the beautiful Norwich cathedral we discovered that the rain had stopped so decided to take the opportunity to have a short walk along the riverside (red route). Once essential for transport and industry this meandering river sadly, like many riversides in many towns and cities, had become neglected and undervalued. Since 2007 it is part of a regeneration process to raise awareness of the value of the river and provide access to it for the public. The route is full of historical and architectural interest and should be a major tourist attraction.
We headed towards the river along The Close passing a lovely Dutch gabled house opposite the Cathedral Herb Garden, which we nipped in to for a look, and then along Hook’s Walk with its excellent brick and flint-built houses, many rendered and colour-washed which in turn leads to the curiously named Gooseberry Garden Walk.
Opened in 1899, the 247 foot long covered avenue was designed and built by Dereham-born architect George Skipper and today it houses a wonderful mixture of shops and restaurants – plus the famous Colman’s Mustard Shop!
Art Nouveau was so-called from Samuel Bing’s art shop “Maison l’art Nouveau” an international movement to bring together the finest designers and craftsmen to unify the designs of buildings, furnishings and decorative arts within.
Norwich was founded by the Saxon North Folk (“North Folk” became “Norfolk”) at the confluence of the Yare and Wensum rivers sometime around the 6th century.
My first visit to Norwich and it rained. After days of unseasonable heat and blue skies in early September the forecast for the Saturday that we intended to visit the county capital of Norfolk was sadly correct. But since the main attraction was the cathedral it didn’t deter us and in fact it worked out rather well. I am going to split the posts up otherwise they would be far too long and photo heavy, so posts about the cathedral itself may be a while down the line.
Today we are going to walk through the city from the bus station to the cathedral. We left the car at Thickthorn Park ‘n Ride and took the bus into the city centre as we had no idea of where to park in the city. It proved to be a good idea. The first destination was the information office at the Forum so we could pick up a map or two! Getting there was a bit tricky though, as we took a wrong turning, but imagine my delight when we found ourselves outside the delightful Art Nouveau Royal Arcade which was one of my ‘must see’ sights.
Exiting the arcade we discovered the market place; the City Hall, the Guildhall and the church of St Peter Mancroft.