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Norwich Cathedral

History

Norwich Cathedral has stood for over 900 years as an icon of christianity in East Anglia since its foundation in 1096 by the Norman Bishop Herbert de Losinga. Bishop Losinga purchased the Diocese of East Anglia in 1091 from the Norman King William II - a sin called simony - Pope Urban II ordered Herbert to build a new Cathedral as an act of penance. Herbert never saw the Cathedral finished as he died in 1119 and it was left to his successor, Eborardus, to complete the work in c1140.

The Cathedral has withstood fire, riot, plague and much turmoil to survive as the most complete Romanesque Cathedral in England.

The Cathedral has recently completed an 11 million pound building project, the largest since its original foundation. This was funded by the generosity of local and national individuals, businesses and charities as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Refectory Restaurant and Coffee Shop opened in 2004 and is located on the site of the original monastic Refectory. The building, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, has won many awards for its striking design and combination of old and new.

Its sister building the Hostry Visitor and Education Centre, was also designed by Sir Michael Hopkins and is also built on the original monastic Hostry site and today’s visitors enter through the arch that welcomed visitors to the monastery. The Hostry opened in November 2009. It houses the new Song School and state of the art education, community and conference facilities as well as new interpetative material about the Cathedral and its Benedictine tradtiion.

With the completion of these buildings the Cathedral now has, as at the time of its original Benedictine foundation, one building dedicated to each of its key Benedictine principles - worship, hospitality and learning.

 

Architecture

Romanesque arcading runs from east to west emphasising the solid Norman austerity of the building and its status as one of the most complete major Norman structures in Europe.
Highlights in the Cathedral architecture include a fine lierne vault in the Nave, added after a major fire in 1463, which is filled with unique decorative bosses which tell the entire story of the Bible. The beauty of the apsidal east end is complimented by a graceful Bisops Throne which sits above the base of the Trone of Saint Felix and the flying buttresses which ring the presytery like a crown.

Norwich has England’s largest extant monastic Cloister which is also the only surviving example in the UK which is adorned with four walks of roof bosses telling scriptiral and secular stories.

The most iconic feaure of the Cathedral is the graceful stone spire (the second tallest in England) which was completed in 1480.

Overall the Cathedral is one of the finest examples of the earliest medieval architecture crowned with perpendicular additions which lend seamlessly creating one of the finest sacred spaces in Europe.

Moreover, it has continued to commission new works of art and architecture as illustrated in detail on its website (www.cathedral.org.uk). The Refectory Restaurant and Coffee shop designed by Sir Michael Hopkins opened in 2004 and has won many awards. Its sister building, the Hostry Visitor and Education Centre, opened in November 2009.

Attractions

The building remains a place of quiet reflection and prayer as well as for participation in daily worship or the rich pageantry of the Church’s festivals. Both the boy’s and girl’s choir are world renowned and lead worship day by day. A full range of tradition is represented from 1662 Evensong daily to Choral Eucharist on Sunday Mornings to High Mass on Saints days and Solemn Benediction on the feast of Corpus Christi.

Tours are available at 10.45, 12.30 and 2.15 daily or by prior arrangement; full details can be found on the website (www.cathedral.org.uk).

The gift shop is located in the Nave and offers a wide variety of souvenirs and books.

The Cathedral Refectory Restaurant and Coffee shop serves delicious fresh, locally sourced food.

The Hostry Visitor and Education Centre provides interpretative material to help you get the most from your visit.

Admission is by donation.

Local Interest

Riverside Walk
Norwich Castle
Norwich Lanes
Museum of Norwich
Norwich Market
The Forum
Norwich City FC