Saturday, 25 March 2017
Some slightly random snippets of Norwich history
In Tudor times a ban on thatched roofing was brought in because of the extra fire risk a thatch brings. The legacy of this is that there are very few thatched buildings in Norwich - despite there being so many old buildings. I originally read that there were only five thatched buildings, however, I found a sixth!
B) Pykerell's House - House of Thomas Pykerell who died in 1545 and was mayor of Norwich three times. This house has a great hall.
C) Hampshire Hog Yard - behind the Arts' Centre. It was a pub for many years.
D) Barking Dicky - . It was once a pub called the Light Horseman but the pub sign was so badly painted that the horse looked like a cross between a dog and a donkey which the locals therefore decided to call 'Dicky'.
E) The Hermitage - found on Bishopgate.
F) Another thatch I found - possibly newly thatched - situated behind the Barking Dicky.
I found this old photo in a book of Westlegate. You can see 'Barking Dicky' at the top of the hill next to the church.
A drain cover in Tombland Alley is the only one in the city to bear the name of Thomas Crapper - the company to bring sewage engineering to cities in Victorian times and the origin of the word 'crap'.
Bishop Bridge dates from about 1340 and is situated at the point where a Roman road probably entered the city by ford from the east and it is therefore a very old crossing point. It was at the time, the only bridge giving access to the city from outside and therefore had a fortified gatehouse at its western end. This picture shows a half circle protrusion at the west end that would have supported one of the gate's turrets.
Officially known as Garsett House, this building became known as Armada House in Victorian times because it was thought to have been constructed with the timbers from a galleon of the Spanish Armada of 1588. This could well be true as some of the galleons were known to have been wrecked off the east coast and 1589 is carved into the building at first floor level.
The building was truncated on its south side to make way for a new tram-line in Victorian times.
Augustine Steward House
St Lawrence church door carvings
In Bridewell Alley there are some fine examples of weavers' windows: windows that are horizontally long and at the top storey to allow as much light in as possible.
Before public health studies helped the population understand how diseases were caused, water pumps were often funded by church parishes and therefore situated close to or next to churchyards. These churchyards were full of decaying bodies and the water was disease inducing. This pump was not only next to St John Maddermarket's churchyard, it was downhill from it. Cholera and typhoid killed many before it was understood that these diseases were waterborne. Fortunatley the brewing process destroyed the micobes of these diseases and accounts for hwy so many pubs existed in medieval Norwich. Beer was considerably weaker hundreds of years ago so perhaps people didn't exist in a permanent state of inebriation - or did they?