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Our Norman Cathedral dominates the Norfolk skyline with its famous 315-foot spire. Ethelbert Gate was constructed as penance for the city’s excommunication. Elm Hill is one of the most complete medieval streets in the UK, and Cow Tower has defended the River Wensum since the 1300s. Once a market, Tombland has been the hub of city nightlife for decades.
You can’t miss Norwich Cathedral. Overlooking the whole city and visible for miles, its spire is 315 ft tall, and the whole building measures 461ft long. The Cathedral was built in the 11th Century, however the history of the area reaches beyond that: St Michael at Plea church is mostly fifteenth Century in date, but it is set on one of the earliest Anglo-Saxon Church foundations in Norwich. Archaeological observations indicate that the site was a pagan Anglo-Saxon cremation cemetery of the 5th or 6th Century, making this area over 1500 years old as a religious site.
Tombland may have an ominous-sounding name, but it actually comes from an old scandinavian word for ‘empty space’. From the late Saxon period, this was the site of the city’s marketplace, until it was moved to its current home after the Norman Conquest. In Tombland Alley, see 16th Augustine Steward House, at one time headquarters for the suppression of Kett’s rebellion in 1549.
Elm Hill can be found winding its way from Wensum Street to Princes Street. On this one street, see more Medieval buildings than the City of London. This was once home to Norwich’s merchants and traders, thanks to its advantageous position by the river. A huge fire destroyed most of the street in 1537, but The Britons Arms survived and can still be seen today. The rest of the street was rebuilt in a sturdy, Tudor style, which is why so much of Elm Hill is still intact today. Not only is this cobbled, meandering street an historic icon of our city, but home to some of Norwich’s most unique independent shops.
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