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A place of literary achievements, Lady Julian Bridge honours the greatest mystic of the Middle Ages – Julian of Norwich – who was the first woman to write a book in English. We’re England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and the National Centre for Writing is found at 15th-century Dragon Hall, nurturing new talent within its walls and around the world.
King Street is one of the longest thoroughfares in the city. Since Saxon times, the area has been associated with fishing and riverside industry. As the trade from the river grew, so did the amount of sailors – and the amount of pubs for them to visit. Of the 58 pubs which were once on this street, only one survives today.
There are two very fine examples of historic houses along King Street. The Music House was owned by a wealthy family and dates from the 12th Century. It is thought to be the oldest surviving house in the city. Dragon Hall, a former merchants’ hall, dates from the 14th Century, and has a timber framed first floor over a flint rubble and brick ground floor. Today – as part of the National Centre for Writing – Dragon Hall has been restored to its medieval splendour and new additions have opened up the building, revealing the many layers of the building’s past.
And just off King Street – down St Julian’s Alley – is St Julian’s church. For much of her life, Julian of Norwich was anchoress here, and lived in a cell attached to this little church throughout the late 14th and early 15th centuries. From here she counselled the citizens of Norwich through plague and poverty. And it was here that she had her 16 visions, which inspired her book ‘Revelations of Divine Love’: the first book written in English by a woman. Visit the Julian Centre – located next to St Julian’s Church – to find out more about this remarkable medieval mystic.
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