One of the finest complete Romanesque cathedrals in Europe, with the second tallest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England, Norwich cathedral houses more than a thousand beautiful medieval roof boss sculptures. Norwich’s magnificent Romanesque Cathedral is open to visitors of all faiths and none. In beautiful grounds it’s an awe-inspiring, welcoming building with spectacular architecture, magnificent art and a fascinating history. It has a licensed refectory restaurant.
Norwich Cathedral is an English cathedral located in Norwich, Norfolk, dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. It is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites.
The cathedral was begun in 1096 and constructed out of flint and mortar and faced with a cream-coloured Caen limestone. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings. The cathedral was completed in 1145 with the Norman tower still seen today topped with a wooden spire covered with lead. Several episodes of damage necessitated rebuilding of the east end and spire but since the final erection of the stone spire in 1480 there have been few fundamental alterations to the fabric.
The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. It also has the largest collection of decorative roof bosses in England and is the only church in the Northern Hemisphere to have its Saxon Bishop’s Throne in its original position. Norwich Cathedral has the second largest cloisters in England, only exceeded by those at Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft (96 m), is the second-tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion, which led to the building being set on fire. Measuring 461 ft (141 m) long and, with the transepts, 177 ft (54 m) wide at completion, Norwich Cathedral was the largest building in East Anglia. Norwich Cathedral continues to hold traditional services to this day – it remains a place of worship, where one can seek solace and comfort. It is attended by the pupils of Norwich School, who use the cathedral for their daily assembly. It is also the venue for many lectures, concerts and exhibitions.
As you approach the main gate of Norwich Cathedral from Tombland you’ll notice the statue of Edith Cavell, a nurse from nearby Swardeston who was shot by the Germans during the first world war for helping Allied prisoners escape from Brussels. She is now buried inside the cathedral precinct.
You can take a free guided tour. It was built more that 900 years ago. Perigrine falcons have made their nests on the spire this has never happened in Norwich before, this is an attraction in itself.
The treasured Despenser Retable behind the altar of St Luke’s chapel is a 14th century painting that depicts the death and resurrection of Christ. It went missing during the Puritan days of the 16th century and was only rediscovered in 1847 when someone dropped something on the floor and looked up at the bottom of a table – the painting had been nailed face down to hide it! The Cathedral has the largest collection of medieval roof bosses of any cathedral in the Christian world – more than 1000! It’s also possibly one of the greatest collections of Bible stories in stone.