Medieval development of north Norwich c 910 – 1253 – Timeline – Trevor Nuthall – June 2019

(The dates given for the foundation of the churches, apart from St Paul’s church, are guesstimates).

c 910 – Establishment of Northwic north of the river with defensive ditch and bank and a mint. To the west was Coslany, to the east Thorpe, to the south the river Wensum. The Dalymond ditch formed the eastern boundary of Northwic.

c 917 – The Danish army of East Anglia submitted to the Anglo-Saxon king and East Anglia began to become part of England.

c 950 – First wave of churches north of the river: Within the defensive ditch St Botolph (market church), All Saints, St Saviour, St Mary and St John the Baptist. Outside the defensive ditch St Martin Coslany may date from this time.

c 1000 – Shift of focus of Norwich from north to south of the river. New market place south of river on Tombland with St Michael’s as market church, St Martin at Palace as subsidiary market church, and perhaps with a court at St Michael at Plea.

1004 – Norwich sacked by the Danes… “in this year Swegn came with his fleet to Norwich and completely burned and ravaged the borough.”

c 1050 – Second wave of churches north of the river: St Olave, St Clement and perhaps St Edmund and St Michael Coslany.

1068-1075 – South of the river establishment of Norman castle and French borough, including a new market place with St Peter Mancroft as market church and a tollhouse.

c 1096 – South of river establishment of Norwich Cathedral Priory.  

c 1100 – Third wave of churches north of the river: St Margaret in combusto, St Augustine, St George Colegate, St Margaret Newbridge, St James and perhaps St Mary Coslany. St Paul was built in the early 1120s with an adjoining hospital.

1194 – Royal charter gave Norwich a large measure of independence from royal control. It may be that from this date Norwich was divided into four “leets” (or areas of criminal jurisdiction), including Ultra Aquam (or Over the Water) for the leet north of the river. The earliest surviving reference to Ultra Aquam is in a document of 1288.

1226 – The Blackfriars arrived in Norwich and established a friary north of the river and north of Colegate. They took over the church of St John the Baptist. (About 100 years later the Blackfriars moved to a new site south of the river with better river access – now St Andrew’s and Blackfriars Hall).

1253 – New boundary ditch and bank constructed around the inhabited area both north and south of river – the site of the later city wall. North of the river the ditch and bank cut through existing jurisdictions of Taverham hundred and Thorpe.  

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