TG2309 : St Helen's Bishopgate, Norwich - C18 memorial

taken 10 years ago, near to Norwich, Norfolk, Great Britain

St Helen's Bishopgate, Norwich - C18 memorial
St Helen's Bishopgate, Norwich - C18 memorial
The Great Hospital at Bishopgate > Link - situated a short distance to the north-east of the Cathedral > Link - is an almshouse founded in 1249 by Bishop Walter de Suffield to care for elderly homeless people, including 'decrepit priest'. The complex of buildings > Link - one of England's oldest hospitals - includes a church, cloister, medieval refectory, and a Victorian hall. The infirmary was integrated into the west end of the hospital's church, St Helen's, and linked through the open nave arch to the church itself so that the inmates of the hospital could see from the ward into the chancel as Mass was celebrated. This late 14th century ward lost its south aisle in Kett's rebellion and subsequently became a separate ward for poor men. During the Reformation in the 16th century both the infirmary and the east end of the church, the chancel, were walled off and converted into ward accommodation. Thus the C14 chancel became the Eagle Ward, so called because the roof is painted with eagles: according to tradition this was done in honour of Anne of Bohemia (wife of Richard II) on occasion of their visit to Norwich in 1383. The eagles are believed to represent the eagles of the Austrian Imperial emblem (Bohemia was part of Austria at that time). The tracery in the partially bricked-up east window is much decayed, perhaps due to the heat emitted by the chimney that was built into it in the 16th century. Interestingly, St Helen's is the only English church with chimneypots on its roof > Link. This ward was occupied until 1979. The Great Hospital presently provides sheltered housing for the elderly.

St Helen's church is unique in that it is a church within a church. It used to be one of the largest and finest church buildings in its time in Norwich. Its tower is completely detached and commonly referred to as Derlynton's tower > Link - named after archdeacon Derlynton who had it built in 1397. Ever since the alterations carried out in the 16th century, only the central section of this much larger building has been in use as an area of worship, with the unusually large-sized porch > Link forming the oldest part. The central pulpit > Link is surrounded by box pews > Link believed to date from the 18th century and the only altar of the church is situated in the chantry chapel > Link. The chapel was built by Bishop Goldwell in the late 15th century in the south transept of the medieval nave, which was largely rebuilt at the same time as the chancel, and from c 1547 onwards served as a parish church. The medieval bosses on the lierne vaulted roof > Link of the chapel are presumed to be the work of John Everard, the chief mason working on the vaulting of the Cathedral at about the same time the chancel was built. The Commandment board > Link behind the altar is early Georgian and the silver sanctuary lamp hanging in front of it is about 300 years old. The large painting on the wall behind the pulpit is a copy of “The Transfiguration” by Raphael, the original of which hangs in the Vatican. It is on loan to St. Helen’s by Norwich Cathedral. The bench ends > Link on either side of the front pews are medieval and were made between 1519 and 1532 during the mastership of John Hecker - the first three letters of his name are carved into one of the bench ends. A small panel of stained glass depicting the head of St John the Baptist > Link was painted by JG Zobel, a Norwich stained glass artist. The window it originally came from was destroyed in 1942. A modern panel depicting St Giles > Link - the patron saint of the Hospital - was designed by Michael Wiley. The stained glass panel depicting St Helen > Link - the patron saint of the church - is believed to be an early 20th century work. The church houses a number of memorials to former masters, some describing their ailments.

Cloisters > Link - Link adjoin the church in the north. They were built by John Selot who was master from c 1455 to 1479.
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TG2309, 1802 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Saturday, 11 September, 2010   (more nearby)
Monday, 13 September, 2010
Church interior   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 237 090 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:37.9777N 1:18.2936E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 237 090
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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