Norwich Cathedral Part III: Bosses

Norwich Cathedral has more bosses than any other cathedral worldwide: some 1106, including those of Lyhart’s nave roof; those of the presbytery vault, added in 1480 by Bishop Goldwell; those of the transept vaults, added in 1509 by Bishop Nykke after a further fire; and those in the cloister. The bosses represent the largest collection of decorative roof bosses in Christendom, and depict scene from both the old and new testaments. Carved into the stone vaulting and then painted, each boss would have taken almost two weeks to complete. They represent a Christian view of the history of the world including carvings of Noah and the flood, the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the end of the world and the tales of judgement day.

There are some good examples of medieval art.

There are also bosses depicting mythical beasts and figures like the Green Man. It is thought that roof bosses such as these provided one of the earliest forms of theological education, at a time when illiteracy was high.

"The Green Man" 14th century boss in the east walk of the cloister.
“The Green Man” 14th century boss in the east walk of the cloister.
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The Naked Moor
"Man fights Dragon"
“Man fights Dragon”

The east walk was built first in 1297, and aside from a Passion sequence and the Evangelists at the north end has mostly foliage bosses. Continue reading Norwich Cathedral Part III: Bosses