The Norwich Cathedral Close

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Text © Copyright Evelyn Simak, May 2018
Images are under a separate Creative Commons Licence.


On the edge of the cathedral staff car park immediately behind (north of) 64 and 65 The Close, there is a row of five ancient pillars once forming part of a monastic infirmary which stood at this location during the 12th and 13th centuries. The house (63 The Close) which once occupied this space was destroyed in an air raid during WW2 but the ancient pillars in its front garden survived the attack, and during clearance work after the war the remains of two more pillars were discovered. The properties at 66 and 67 The Close were also destroyed by incendiary bombs. Air raid shelters were dug under the Norwich School's playground and public shelters were also installed at 12 and 14 The Close. Troops were allowed to drill in the Close and in December 1940, 75 The Close was requisitioned by a government office, and 8 and 10 The Close were used for auxiliary territorial purposes by the military. Dial House (53 The Close) was offered as a temporary judge's house.

TG2308 : 64 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 63 The Close (site of) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Monastic infirmary pillars (plaque) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Monastic infirmary pillars by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Monastic infirmary pillars by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Monastic infirmary pillars by Evelyn Simak

East of the car park there is a group of old flint and stone buildings known as The Deanery which could once be accessed directly from the Cloister's eastern walk. This is where the prior used to live.

TG2308 : Norwich Cathedral as seen from the Lower Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : The Deanery by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : The Deanery by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : A Cathedral cat by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : The Deanery - the prior's house by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Prior's Hall - door by Evelyn Simak

The path leading past here in north-easterly direction skirts the Cloisters' eastern walk and the eastern end of the cathedral, where Edith Cavell's grave can be seen at Life's Green. Nearby, on the cathedral north wall, is England's oldest Christian effigy, dating from the 11th century and believed to represent St Felix. On the other side of the path is 57 The Close, a magnificent Victorian Gothic house built from flint with extensive polychromatic brickwork detailing, a design which Pevsner considered a faux-pas and out of character. Others jokingly referred to it as "Heinz Hall" (an allusion to Heinz 57, ie 57 Varieties of Pickles). The house, originally a canonry, was built following the demolition of Canon Charles Wodehouse's dwelling which had stood nearby adjacent to the Cloister. 57 The Close was renamed "Abbeyfield" after its conversion in 1973 to accommodation for the elderly.

A group of 19th century and older cottages adjoin in the east, opposite which a modern sculpture by Norma Blake, the second one in the Close called Mother and Child can be seen. The path emerges on Bishopgate opposite St Helen's church and the Great Hospital.

TG2308 : Effigy of St Felix by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : The grave of Edith Cavell by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : The gravestone of Edith Cavell (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : The grave of Edith Cavell - commemorative plaque by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Edith Cavell's grave by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : 57 The Close - Abbeyfield by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 57 The Close - Abbeyfield (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 58 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 60, 60A and 60B The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Mother and Child sculpture at Life's Green by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Approaching Bishopate from The Close by Evelyn Simak

Continuing from Emmaus House (65 The Close) in easterly direction instead and following the main thoroughfare leads to the Lower Close, formerly known as Brewer's or Lower Green and later as Lower Square, where Georgian buildings overlook another large green space. The Grade II* listed terrace north of the green was originally a granary with a granarian's house, but has since been divided into separate dwellings. The terrace of large houses facing it was built on the site of the church of St Mary of the Marsh which was demolished in 1775.

TG2308 : 15 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 14 The Close by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : 56 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 55 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 53 The Close  The Dial House by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 53 The Close  sundial by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 51 The Close by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : 8-12 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Plaque marking the site of St Mary in the Marsh church by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 8-12 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 8-12 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Houses on the south side of the Lower Close by Evelyn Simak

At the green's south-eastern end, where Ferry Lane meets The Close, is Horsefair Loke, a shaded lane leading to Horsefair Green and St Faith's Lane a short distance further to the south.

TG2308 : 34 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 32 and 33 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 32 and 33 The Close - date stone by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 31 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 30 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 29 The Close - door by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 29 The Close by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : Horsefair Loke (sign) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Gate on Horsefair Loke by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Wisteria in Horsefair Loke by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : GPO marker in Horsefair Loke by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : View from Horsefair Loke by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Horsefair Loke by Evelyn Simak

Hook's Walk, formerly known as the Great Chequer Garden, is a narrow lane lined with many interesting dwellings, most Grade II* listed. It starts by the green's north-eastern end and links with Gooseberry Garden Walk, which leads north to Bishopgate, skirting the Norfolk School's cricket ground and tennis courts.

TG2308 : St Helen's church as seen from Gooseberry Garden Walk by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : Old dwellings in Hook's Walk by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Grade II* listed buildings in Hook's Walk by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 49 The Close (Hook's Walk) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 49 The Close - door by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : GPO marker in Hook's Walk by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Historic buildings in Hook's Walk by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : View along Hook's Walk by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 47 (Haydn House) and 48 The Close  (Hook's Walk) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 47 and 48 The Close (Hook's Walk) - doors by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Hook's Walk/Goosberry Garden Walk junction by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 40 and 41 The Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 45 The Close by Evelyn Simak

Following Ferry Lane due east instead leads past more old dwellings, many listed, and a short distance further along past a block of 18th and 19th century stables and coach houses which have since been converted into garages, ending at 25 The Close, better known as Pull's Ferry, and the adjacent ancient watergate on the River Wensum. The name "Pull's Ferry" is derived from John Pull, the last ferryman (he died in 1841) to have kept it as a public house (circa 1800). The ferry was closed permanently in 1942. The complete set of buildings at Pull's Ferry is the property of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral, who restored them in 1947.

TG2308 : 26 The Close (Ferry Lane) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 26 The Close - entrance by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 27 and 28 The Close (Ferry Lane) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 18 The Close (Ferry Lane) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : One of the 19th century homes in the Cathedral Close by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 17 The Close (Ferry Lane) by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : Former stables and coach houses by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Former stables and coach houses by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Old water pump by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Old stables and coach houses  (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Black cat in the window by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Former stables and coach houses by Evelyn Simak

TG2308 : Ferry Lane (sign) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Flowering tree by Pull's Ferry by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Ferry Lane by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 22 The Close (Ferry Lane) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : 23 The Close (Ferry Lane) by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : View across the Norwich School's cricket ground by Evelyn Simak

Ferry Lane is believed to have been constructed on the course of the canal used to transport the Caen stone required for building the cathedral from the river right up to the construction site. This canal was filled in around 1870.

TG2308 : The watergate at Pull's Ferry by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : The watergate as seen from Ferry Lane by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Pull's Ferry - the ferryman's house by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : A seat by Pull's Ferry by Evelyn Simak TG2308 : Notice on one of the gates on the Riverside Walk by Evelyn Simak



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