Norwich Bishops Palace

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Possible Masonry Castle, and also as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameNorwich Bishops Palace
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishNorwich

Externally a mid C19 building, the palace was constructed initially in 1104-6 by Bishop Losinga. It consisted of a vaulted wing projecting from the north wall of the Cathedral and terminating in a miniature keep. Bishop Salmon, 1279-1325, added a vaulted Kitchen forming an L-shaped plan. Salmon built a crypt and Domestic Hall on the site of a late Norman ground floor hall. Salmon's State Hall to the north-east has disappeared except for the porch and his fine chapel windows which are re-used in Bishop Reynold's Chapel. The palace also contains a Norman barrel vault, a C14 vault in the kitchen, C15 priory prison and traces of the Medieval building in an upstairs room. Rebuilt in 1858-9 by E Ewan Christian it is externally a mid C19 structure, L-shaped, 3-storeyed, flint faced with a brick string course. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Specified in the licence to crenellate possibly issued to the Bishop Ayermin in 1327, although the major building work was done by his predecessor Bishop Salmon. If this was an actual licence to crenellate and if any building work was done then presumably just decorative crenellations and the licence a large symbolic culmination of Salmon's building programme. Norfolk SMR, referencing Gilchrist (2005), records a motte and small shell keep partly buried in later buildings and dates this to 1104-6 (the motte being earlier). Shapland (2012), from the same source, writes of a 'motte and residential stone tower constructed north of the nave of Norwich Cathedral immediately following the establishment of the see in 1096' comparable with Gundulf's Tower at Rochester. Shapland gives a plan which is certainly that of a rectangular building not a shell keep.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTG234089
Latitude52.6324310302734
Longitude1.30079996585846
Eastings623460
Northings308960
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Gilchrist, Roberta, 2005, Norwich Cathedral Close : the evolution of the English cathedral landscape (Woodbridge: Boydell Press Studies in the history of medieval religion 26) p. 150-1
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of East Anglia (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 66
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 131, 166
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 12, 30, 41-2, 44, 167, 181
  • Atherton, L., Fence, F., Harper-Bill, C. and Smith, H. (eds), 1996, Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996 (London)
  • Ayers, B., 1994, English Heritage Book of Norwich (London: Batsford/English Heritage)
  • Fernie, E., 1993, An Architectural History of Norwich Cathedral (Oxford) p. 54-5, 89, 126-7, 134, 182-3
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 310
  • Campbell, J., 1975, 'Norwich' in Lobel, M.D. (ed) The Atlas of Historic Towns Vol. 2 (London: Scolar Press/Historic Towns Trust) online copy
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 262
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1962, Buildings of England: Norwich and north-east Norfolk (Penguin) p. 229, 238
  • Calthrop, Charlotte M., 1910, 'The Palace of Norwich' in Rait, R.S. (ed), English Episcopal Palaces (Province of Canterbury) (London; Constable & Co) p. 209-254 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 288, 422 online copy
  • Blomefield, F., 1806, 'City of Norwich, chapter 41: Of the Cathedral Precinct: Bishop's palace' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 4 p. 46-50 (mainly tenurial history) online transcription

Antiquarian

  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy)

Journals

  • Quiney, Anthony, 1999, 'Hall or Chamber? That Is the Question. The Use of Rooms in Post-Conquest Houses' Architectural History Vol. 42 p. 24-46
  • Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation: An Essay in the Sociology and Metaphysics of Medieval Fortification' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 69-100 see online copy
  • Whittingham, A.B., 1980, 'The bishop's palace, Norwich' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 364-8
  • Whittingham, A.B., 1949, 'The monastic buildings of Norwich cathedral' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 106 p. 86-7 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1317-21) Vol. 3 p. 271 (Licence to enlarge palace lands) online copy

Other

  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 52 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 54 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 55 online copy
  • Shapland, Michael, 2012, Buildings of Secular and Religious Lordship: Anglo-Saxon Tower-nave Churches (PhD Thesis University College London) esp. chapter 7
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 64 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 58 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 51 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 58 online copy
  • Gilchrist, R., 2006, Norwich Cathedral Close
  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)