Place:Norwich, Norfolk, England

Alt namesNoruicsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 192
Norwicsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 192
Cromesource: local government ward in borough
Hendersonsource: city district, local government ward in borough
Mancroftsource: central city area including Church of St. Peter Mancroft, local government ward in borough
Mousehold Heathsource: Wikipedia (open space with historical importance), local government ward in borough
Mouseholdsource: alternate form of above
Nelsonsource: local government ward in borough
St. Stephensource: local government ward in borough
Saint Stephensource: alternate form of above
Town Closesource: local government ward in borough
Universitysource: local government ward in borough (20th century)
TypeCathedral city, Borough (county)
Coordinates52.633°N 1.3°E
Located inNorfolk, England     (400 - )
See alsoNorwich District, Norfolk, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
Contained Places
Norwich Cathedral
St Peter Mancroft
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Norwich is a cathedral city in Norfolk, England. Situated on the River Wensum in East Anglia, it lies approximately 100 miles (161 km) northeast of London. It is the county town of Norfolk with a population of 141,300. From the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the second largest city in England (after London), and one of the most important.

The city is the most complete medieval city in the UK, with cobbled streets, ancient buildings and half-timbered houses, many medieval lanes, and the winding River Wensum that flows through the city centre towards Norwich Castle. The city has two universities, the University of East Anglia and the Norwich University of the Arts, and two cathedrals, Norwich Cathedral (Anglican) and St. John the Baptist Cathedral (Roman Catholic).

The Norwich District is within the boundaries of the Norfolk Broads National Park, and the city holds the largest permanent undercover market in Europe. The urban area of Norwich had a population of 213,166 according to the 2011 UK census. Of these, 132,512 people live in the City of Norwich.

Before 1974 and the advent of the Norwich District the county borough of Norwich was divided into "local government wards". (Source: A Vision of Britain through Time which lists their names but nothing more.) The urban or built-up area of Norwich extends beyond the city boundary, with extensive suburban areas on the western, northern and eastern sides, including the parishes of Costessey, Taverham, Hellesdon, Bowthorpe, Old Catton, Sprowston and Thorpe St. Andrew.



For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Norwich#History. This is a very long article which refers to a number of other Wikipedia articles about specific topics in the period since its founding during the Roman occupancy of Britain.

Some notes on various happenings are retained:

The Norman Conquest

At the time of the Norman Conquest the city was one of the largest in England. The Domesday Book states that it had approximately twenty-five churches and a population of between five and ten thousand.

Norwich Castle was founded soon after the Norman Conquest. The Domesday Book records that 98 Saxon homes were demolished to make way for the castle. The Normans established a new focus of settlement around the Castle and the area to the west of it: this became known as the "New" or "French" borough, centred on the Normans' own market place which survives to the present day as Norwich Market.

Building of Norwich Cathedral

In 1096, Herbert de Losinga, the Bishop of Thetford, began construction of Norwich Cathedral. The chief building material for the Cathedral was limestone, imported from Caen in Normandy. To transport the building stone to the cathedral site, a canal was cut from the river (from the site of present-day Pulls Ferry), all the way up to the east wall. Herbert de Losinga then moved his See there to what became the cathedral church for the Diocese of Norwich. The bishop of Norwich still signs himself Norvic. Norwich received a royal charter from Henry II in 1158, and another one from Richard the Lionheart in 1194. Following a riot in the city in 1274, Norwich has the distinction of being the only English city to be excommunicated by the Pope.

The Wool Trade

The engine of trade was wool from Norfolk's sheepwalks. Wool made England rich, and the staple port of Norwich. The wealth generated by the wool trade throughout the Middle Ages financed the construction of many fine churches; consequently, Norwich still has more medieval churches than any other city in Western Europe north of the Alps. Throughout this period Norwich established wide-ranging trading links with other parts of Europe, its markets stretching from Scandinavia to Spain and the city housing a Hanseatic League warehouse. To organise and control its export to the Low Countries, Great Yarmouth, the seaport for Norwich, was designated one of the "staple" ports under terms of the 1353 Statute of the Staple.

From 1280 to 1340 the city walls were built. At around four kilometres (2.5 miles) long, these walls, along with the river, enclosed a larger area than that of the City of London. However, when the city walls were constructed it was made illegal to build outside them, inhibiting expansion of the city. Around this time, the city was made a county corporate and became capital of one of the most densely populated and prosperous counties of England.

The Place of "Strangers"

Norwich has traditionally been the home of various minorities, notably French Huguenot and Belgian Fleminsh and Walloon communities in the 16th and 17th centuries. The great "Stranger" immigration of 1567 brought a substantial Flemish and Walloon community of Protestant weavers to Norwich, where they are said to have been made welcome. The merchant's house which was their earliest base in the city — now a museum — is still known as Strangers' Hall. It seems that the Strangers were integrated into the local community without much animosity, at least among the business fraternity, who had the most to gain from their skills. Their arrival in Norwich boosted trade with mainland Europe and fostered a movement toward religious reform and radical politics in the city.

Research Tips

  • GENUKI provides a list of references for Norwich. Some entries lead to free online transcriptions of registers and censuses.
  • A map from Wikimedia shows the "suburbs" of Norwich as mentioned above. This map needs expanding (ctrl+) to be of use.
  • See A Vision of Britain through Time for a list of churches that existed in Norwich. All references to churches and city districts of Norwich are redirected here. Some have articles in Wikipedia or in the FamilySearch Wiki
  • GENUKI also advises that the following lists for Norfolk are to be found in FamilySearch:
  • has the following lists as of 2018 (UK or worldwide Ancestry membership or library access required). With the exception of the index to wills these files are browsible images of the original documents. The files are separated by type and broken down into time periods (i.e., "Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812" is more than one file). The general explanatory notes are worth reading for those unfamiliar with English parish records.
  • Index to wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich : and now preserved in the District Probate Registry at Norwich
  • Norfolk, England, Bishop's Transcripts, 1579-1935
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1990
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940
  • FindMyPast is another pay site with large collection of parish records. As of October 2018 they had 20 types of Norfolk records available to browse including Land Tax Records and Electoral Registers.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Norwich. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.