Medieval England Lives On in Norwich

| 7/9/2014 8:31:00 AM

Marilyn JonesNorwich is a maze of streets, lanes and alleyways with the largest intact medieval street pattern in Europe and is the most complete medieval city in England. A visit here is an adventure for the historian, a journey for the dreamer. There are more than 1,500 significant buildings within the city walls: a castle, two cathedrals, 36 churches and hundreds of half-timbered Tudor houses, shops and restaurants.

Norwich is a maze of narrow streets and medieval buildings.

Norwich Castle, constructed between 1095 and 1110, dominates the heart of the city. Its construction was ordered by William the Conqueror in the aftermath of the Norman conquest of England. Although the castle was designed as a royal palace rather than a fortification, no king ever lived in it. The only time Henry I is known to have stayed here was for Christmas 1121.


Stepping into the keep, the sheer size of the room is incredible. Originally the upper floor, now a balcony, was divided into two sections. On the north side was the great hall, and on the south side were the royal quarters including a large parlor, bedrooms and a private chapel, which is still intact. Within the outer walls is a walkway where soldiers could patrol the building.

From the 14th through the 19th centuries, the keep was used as a prison. In 1883, when the prison was moved, work began on converting the building into a museum to feature local history, artifacts and art.

7/13/2014 1:43:36 PM

Marilyn, it was like that when I was stationed in Germany during the 1970s. The German country side fascinated me the entire 18 months that I was there. The towns were aged but I don't quite think they were 100s of years old. I did spend some time at a German family's house during the Christmas season. It's quite different from the United States but a Christmas tree was part of the seasonal decorations. Every town it seemed had an open square in the center of town which was surrounded by specialty shops. Since refrigerators were rare, these specialty shops were mostly food shops. Milk, meat, bread were just a few of the shops visited daily by the folks of the city and surrounding area. The town where I was stationed did have a castle which was common for many of the towns. The town square was devoted to many celebrations but during the summer months mostly for local farmer's market. All sorts of food, trinkets, knives, not guns, and cloth were sold there. Even the oriental folks got into the market with suit and clothing orders which were tailored to measurements taken and the finished product was delivered later. As I recall, it was one day a week and traveled from city to city. Modern was mixed with the traditional ways. I attended a movie theatre a few times and actually saw the first movie about MASH that was later turned into a TV series. Even though it was in English, it was hard to follow as it was captioned in German which caused them to laugh before the English punch line came. All in all, it was a great experience for me. ***** Have a great living history lesson day.

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