The parish churches of Norwich north of the River Wensum: city, community, architecture and antiquarianism

Brian Ayers, Clare Haynes, Sandy A. Heslop, Helen Lunnon

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Norwich Ultra Aquam (‘over the water’) formed a discrete leet or administrative area within the medieval city. At its heart was an Anglo-Scandinavian defensive enclosure, with Coslany lying to the west, and later suburban developments to the north and east. Evidence from topographic, dedicatory, archaeological and inter-parochial relationships, suggests that the pattern of church foundation was both complex and distinctive. Unlike several parishes south of the river, there are no indications that the early phases of Ultra Aquam church foundations were the initiative of senior ecclesiastics, or had specifically royal connections. Rather, they were local projects responding to the manner in which the city was developing. Later in the Middle Ages monastic interest on the north bank increased but several of the churches remained in secular hands. Patronage, whether lay or ecclesiastical, played a key part in their architectural development; St Michael Coslany and St George Colegate in particular received considerable burgess investment. The rich antiquarian tradition in the city provides a record of attitudes to the churches in the post-Reformation period which has to be understood in terms of priorities that changed over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalChurch Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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