At the edge of the marketplace in this historic coastal town stands the majestic church of St Nicholas. A twelfth century Norman building, it is possibly the oldest building in Great Yarmouth, and with a footprint of 23,000 square feet, definitely the largest parish church in the country,
The church has been changed numerous times since its initial construction. At one point during the Commonwealth period the interior was walled into sections so that Churchmen, Presbyterians and Independents could worship separately. And during the Second World War it was bombed and severely damaged by fire. It took years to rebuild and wasn’t re-consecrated until the 1960s.
Today the church stands in a cruciform shape with the tower at the centre. As well as being a place of worship, it is a community hub and holds concerts, fayres and exhibitions.
Discover more about The Minster Church of St Nicholas at their official website. And find out everything to do in Great Yarmouth, including the circus, beach and Nelson monument at Visit Great Yarmouth.
On September 29th 1963 the University of East Anglia (UEA) welcomed its first Chancellor. This painting by Michael Andrews (1928-1995) shows the Lord Mayor of Norwich’s reception for the Chancellor in Norwich Castle Keep. UEA opened in October 1963 and admitted its first cohort of 87 students, in a series of prefabricated buildings designed to accommodate 1,200 students.
Over the past 50 years the campus has grown, as has the student population (now at around 18,000). In addition to the traditional academic buildings and halls of residence, it is home to a medical school, a number of venues, and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. There’s plenty to see and do – not to mention the incredible architecture.
Towers and Spires is a specially-created cycle route taking in some of Suffolk’s finest churches, as part of the Angels and Pinnacles project.
Angels and Pinnacles was born out of the need to spread the word about Suffolk’s magnificent heritage of parish churches – one in every community, over 230 Grade I listed, and over 180 Grade II.
Angels and Pinnacles was launched by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in March 2012 as ‘a new way of discovering the heritage on your doorstep’. It started out with 24 churches in six clusters across Suffolk as part of a Heritage Lottery funded community project. It was so successful that the project has opened up to other churches that are willing to remain unlocked daily to welcome visitors.
Churches included in the scheme run a series of events throughout the year, including concerts, exhibitions and guided tours. Additionally, the scheme offers a range of other heritage trails ranging from three to thirty miles, with some specifically designed for cycling or driving.
If you’ve ever seen a brochure or a travel book about Norwich then chances are very good that you will have already seen Elm Hill.
This cobbled street is the very definition of picturesque, consisting almost exclusively of sixteenth century timber framed buildings that make the whole street a fantastic photo opportunity.
When you visit Elm Hill you may notice that elm trees are conspicuous in their absence. This is because almost all of them fell to Dutch Elm Disease which swept through the area many years ago. The sole hardy survivor is now surrounded by benches outside The Briton’s Arms – a restaurant housed in a fourteenth century building.
You can discover more about historic Elm Hill, and the rest of the city at Visit Norwich.
The Wenhaston Doom is a remarkable piece of 16th century church art that can be seen in St Peter’s Church, Wenhaston, close to the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
A Doom is a painting that depicts the Day of Judgement. Usually these were painted directly onto the wall, but the Wenhaston Doom was painted onto a wooden tympanum instead, inadvertently saving it from the fate that befell most other Dooms.
For an unknown reason, somebody whitewashed over the Doom in the 1500s. This meant Cromwell’s church despoilers overlooked it during their rampage against Catholic iconography in the seventeenth century. It still wasn’t safe though, in 1892 the wooden boards were removed from the church, either with the intention of destroying them as part of a refit, or perhaps stripping them down and repainting. However, the tympanum was left outside on a rainy night and when the workmen returned in the morning they found the whitewash gone, revealing the Doom underneath.
You can find out more about this fascinating piece of nationally important art – and Wenhaston itself – here.
From 10th to 13th September 2015, thousands of volunteers across England invited visitors to experience local history, architecture and culture. Love Architecture joined Heritage Open Days to tell the architectural story of buildings – past, present and future, through a series of interpretation boards, talks, architect-led tours and special events which took place across the four-day festival.
In Norwich, there were over one hundred events to attend, all exploring the city’s fantastic architecture, including the Cathedral, historic merchant’s houses, and guided tours around the city.
Sparrowe’s House is a Grade I listed building in Ipswich town centre, dating back to the 15th Century.
The building has detailed pargeting and elaborate wood carvings around the front of the house. Four panels of pargeting show a Tudor impression of the world. The continents Africa, America, Asia and Europe are shown – but not Australia, which wasn’t discovered at the time.
The front of the building as it can be seen today (in a restored state), was not an original feature of the building – it was added by Robert Sparrowe between 1660 and 1670. It bears the Royal Arms of King Charles II, and the words ‘honi soit qvi mal y pense’, which is old French for ‘shame upon him who thinks evil of it’.
Sparrowe’s House is featured in the updated Pevsner Guides, which we explored in an earlier Culture365 post.
This unique example of a flint knapper’s skill was made by Bill Basham of Brandon, Suffolk. Working in his spare time, it took almost two years to complete these finely crafted letters. Flint is a widespread local resource, at one time Brandon was the leading area for the manufacture of gun flints, which were produced in vast quantities during the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century.
Each letter is around double the size of a postage stamp and required the meticulous removal of minute flint chips to produce the desired shape. The Q, B and V testing the skill of the master flint knapper.
Flint-work doesn’t come without its perils though. If inhaled over a period of time the superfine dust created during flint knapping led to serious health problems such as silicosis. It was this lung condition which caused the death of Bill Basham in 1932 at the age of just 38.
The House in the Clouds is a water tower at Thorpeness, in Suffolk. It was built in 1923 to receive water pumped by Thorpeness Windmilland was designed to improve the looks of the water tower, disguising its tank with the appearance of a weatherboarded building more in keeping with Thorpeness’s mock-Tudor and Jacobean style, except seeming to float above the trees.
In 1977 the water tower was made redundant by mains water supply arriving in the village, and additional living space was created. In 1979 the main water tank was removed to fully convert the building into a house. The building currently has five bedrooms and three bathrooms; it contains a total of 68 steps from top to bottom and is around 70 ft high.
The Market Cross marks the site of a crucifix in the centre of the ancient market place at Bury St Edmunds which was erected between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Market crosses symbolised fairness with dealings in the market and were used for preaching and to make public announcements. In 1583 the cross was dismantled and replaced with an open wooden shelter for corn sellers.
Markets have been held in Bury St Edmunds for more than a thousand years and still thrive today, with markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Even today, the street names recall their history (for example Butter Market and Hatter Street) describing the goods traded there – beasts, butter, corn, wool and fish.
Today, contemporary gallery Smiths Row inhabits the market cross, and exhibits a range of temporary exhibitions as well as a popular gift shop.
See what’s on at Smiths Row, and plan a visit at their website.