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Former Dominican Friary (Blackfriars) Norwich: St Andrew's Hall and Blackfriars' Hall, The Crypt, the south range, the East Garth and east cloister walk, the West Garth, and west boundary wall

A Grade I Listed Building in Thorpe Hamlet, Norfolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6312 / 52°37'52"N

Longitude: 1.2959 / 1°17'45"E

OS Eastings: 623141

OS Northings: 308814

OS Grid: TG231088

Mapcode National: GBR W9C.J8

Mapcode Global: WHMTM.W486

Entry Name: Former Dominican Friary (Blackfriars) Norwich: St Andrew's Hall and Blackfriars' Hall, The Crypt, the south range, the East Garth and east cloister walk, the West Garth, and west boundary wall

Listing Date: 26 February 1954

Last Amended: 10 June 2016

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1220456

English Heritage Legacy ID: 229471

Location: Norwich, Norfolk, NR3

County: Norfolk

District: Norwich

Electoral Ward/Division: Thorpe Hamlet

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Norwich

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Norwich St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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Summary

Former friary, originally constructed by the Friars Penitential in the C13 but largely rebuilt by the Dominicans in the C14 and C15. The church was converted into municipal halls in c1540, and the buildings restored and altered in 1861 and 1863.

Description

Former friary, originally constructed by the Friars Penitential in the C13, but largely rebuilt by the Dominicans in the C14 and C15. The church was converted into municipal halls in c1540, and the buildings restored and altered in 1861 and 1863.

MATERIALS: Coursed and random rubble flint, including some knapped flint, with limestone and brick dressings. The former church has a limestone ashlar clerestory. Polychrome brick to west elevation of West Garth. Copper, slate, pan-tiled and felt-covered roofs.

PLAN: Former cloister forming three sides of a quadrangle with west range (The West Garth), east range (The East Cloister Walk and East Garth), and south range (including South Cloister Walk), and former church (St Andrew’s Hall and Blackfriars’ Hall) to the south.

ST ANDREW’S HALL AND BLACKFRIARS’ HALL (THE BLACKFRIARS’ CHURCH)

Dominican friary church, now two municipal halls. C14 origins, largely rebuilt in 1440-1470 following a fire, and converted to halls c1540 with further alterations in 1863 as part of a restoration by the City Surveyor Thomas Barry.

PLAN: an aisled nave of seven bays (now St Andrew’s Hall) divided by a cross passage from a chancel of five bays (now Blackfriars’ Hall).

EXTERIOR: the south front faces St Andrew’s Plain and comprises a lean-to aisle of seven bays, an ashlar clerestory of fourteen bays, and then the walkway and chancel to the east. A knapped flint plinth and an ashlar string course are carried round the building beneath window level. The aisle has five bays of C14 Decorated windows, an 1863 Perpendicular porch in the second bay from west, and a C15 Perpendicular window in the seventh bay. All are separated by stepped buttresses. The Decorated windows are of three lights with reticulated tracery under two-centred arches, and the Perpendicular window is of four lights with embattled transoms stepped up and down. The porch projects forward two bays and is two-storeys high with angled buttresses. It has a south doorway formed of a pointed arch of two moulded orders rising on shafts with foliated capitals, set under a square head with roundels in the spandrels enriched with quatrefoils and shields. Within it is a mid-C19 wrought-iron gate. Above the doorway is an ashlar frieze decorated with quatrefoils and shields and then a four-light window in the gable. The latter comprises two lights under a two-centred arch and two side lights under square heads, all with ogee tracery. Surmounting the gable is an ashlar parapet with a trefoil fretwork design and a finial. In the west elevation is a projecting stair-turret and a pointed two-light window whilst at the east are two pointed two-light windows to the ground floor and a square-headed mullioned window to the first floor. All the porch openings have hoodmoulds with foliated-stops or head-stops. The clerestory windows are each of three lights with cusped ogee tracery under four-centred arches. They are separated by square panels bearing shields with the coat of arms of the Erpingham family. In the fourth bay of the south aisle is a mid-C19 doorway inserted beneath the window, which comprises a two-centred arch set in a square head with quatrefoils in the roundels. There is a closely-matching mid-C19 doorway to the cross passage set within a projecting single-storey porch with a fretwork parapet. A mid-C19 flint wall with a limestone coping extends south from the south-east corner. Set into the wall is a gateway with flint and limestone capped piers and a wrought-iron gate. The cross passage and chancel have Perpendicular windows under two-centred brick arches; three lights to the former and five lights to the latter. All have embattled transoms stepped up and down. Each bay is separated by stepped buttresses.

The east front of the chancel (now Blackfriar’s Hall) has a Decorated window of seven lights with curvilinear tracery under a two-centred arch, largely restored in 1959. It is flanked by angled buttresses which are pierced by two arches forming a passage adjoined by railings. Attached to the south is a flint boundary wall which contains a two-centred arched gateway with a hoodmould.

The north front is similar to the south elevation but the fenestration comprises entirely Perpendicular windows: five windows in the chancel; six windows and a C14 arched doorway in the north aisle; and fourteen windows to the clerestory. In the first bay of the chancel are three segmental-headed arched recesses and a blocked square-headed opening. These originally formed part of a medieval anchorite’s cell that projected from the building. In the following bay is a pointed arched doorway under a large brick round-headed opening. The south cloister walk is adjoined to the church by an 1863 infill block with a lean-to roof.

The west front faces St George’s Street and was re-fenestrated in 1863. It comprises a large Perpendicular window of five lights to the nave and two three-light Perpendicular windows to the aisles. Four C15 stepped flint buttresses separate the bays but three of these are pierced by mid-C19 arches to form a pedestrian passage next to St George’s Street. Beneath the nave window is a large doorway approached by steps, which contains mid-C19 wooden doors with decorative wrought-iron hinges. The doorway is formed of a pointed arch of two moulded orders rising on shafts with foliated capitals, set under a square head with roundels in the spandrels enriched with quatrefoils and shields. Above it is a hoodmould with head-stops. On either side of the doorway are flint flushwork panels decorated with trefoils and shields. Set in the angled buttress at the north-west corner is a pointed arched doorway.

The former nave, now St Andrew’s Hall, has a pitched copper roof with limestone decorative crosses to the gables, and copper down pipes. There are copper-covered lean-to roofs over the aisles, and a slate roof with lead flashings to the former chancel, now Blackfriars’ Hall.

INTERIOR: The south porch of St Andrew’s Hall contains stone benches and a mid-C19 timber screen with diamond leaded lights and double doors. A two-centred arched doorway containing a C15 iron-studded timber door with carved tracery and coats of arms leads through to St Andrew’s Hall. The porch has a chequered tiled floor. A wrought-iron gate in the west wall provides access to the staircase to the first floor, which contains a cast iron stove set within a chamfered stone fireplace.

St Andrew’s Hall occupies the nave and side aisles of the former church. The nave arcades comprise seven bays of two-centred arches supported on piers formed of four shafts separated by wide hollow chamfers. The inward facing shafts continue up to the level of the clerestory to carry corbels supporting the hammer-beam roof, which has double butt-purlins and a ridge-piece. The lean-to roofs over the aisles are supported by arched braces resting on corbels. Set into the wall at the east end is a mid-C19 two-centred arch resting on angel corbels. The responds are formed of four shafts separated by chamfers decorated with blind tracery. An organ built by Bryceson Brothers and Ellis in 1880 occupies the space under the arch, whilst a C20 timber stage is situated in front of it. The organ has a central oak case of 1824 with a Gothic fretwork design incorporating tracery, quatrefoils and pinnacles. It is Grade II listed in the British Institute of Organ Studies National Pipe Organ Register. On either side of the east arch are two late C20 foyers. The hall windows largely contain mid-C19 diamond leaded lights but there are stained glass panels in the south aisle and west window of the nave. The hall has a C20 timber floor.

The cross passage (or ‘walking place’) between the two halls now forms a foyer containing a reception desk and wheelchair lift, with a late C20 bar in a partitioned space beneath the east arch of St Andrew’s Hall. There is a mid-C19 partition containing pointed arches and blind tracery set into the arch. A C18 memorial stone is mounted on the east wall and there is a C15 four-centred arched doorway leading to a stair turret in the north-east corner.

Blackfriars’ Hall occupies the chancel of the former church. It is approached from the west through a four-centred arched doorway containing a mid-C19 timber door with stained glass panels. The hall has a rafter and purlin roof with single butt-purlins, a ridge piece, and arched braces on wall posts. There are carved angel and foliage bosses where the principal rafters and purlins meet. Set into the north wall is a c1639 architectural memorial tablet to Reverend Johannes Ellison, senior minister of the Dutch congregation, and, beneath it, a brass plaque to his son. A C15 two-centred arched doorway at the east end of the north wall provides external access. The hall contains a C20 stage at the east end and a 1920s timber floor that is raised above the original stone floor slabs and memorial stones. The windows have mid-C19 diamond leaded lights. Attached to the south side of the hall is a late C20 service range, which is not of special interest.

SOUTH RANGE AND THE CRYPT

South range of Dominican Friary, originally serving as the south cloister walk, library, and possibly the Prior’s quarters and infirmary. C15, altered in 1861. A lean-to of 1863 is attached to the south whilst to the south-east is a vestibule (now known as ‘The Crypt’) built by the Friars Penitential in the C13 but altered by the Dominicans in the C14.

PLAN: two storey gabled range rising to three storeys at north-west corner where there is a projecting rectangular stair-turret. A single storey lean-to of 1863 is attached to the south and to the south-east is the vestibule known as The Crypt. Further east are the remains of Becket’s Chapel (a scheduled monument).

EXTERIOR: the north elevation of the south range faces the cloister garth. On the ground floor is a four-bay arcade of two-centred, quadruple-chamfered, brick-built arches separated by stepped buttresses. The first floor has nine lancets or pointed-arched windows containing sashes or fixed panes, whilst the second floor has two lancet windows with fixed panes set within a side gable. The projecting staircase contains slit windows and lancets. The arches of the ground-floor arcade contain C20 glass panels except for two mid-C19 timber doors with decorative wrought-iron hinges in the third bay. There are several blocked openings at first floor level. Both the mid-C19 stair-turret and third floor have flint and brick banding to the walls.

The east elevation of the south range has two lancet windows to the first floor. It is adjoined at the south-east by The Crypt; a two bay rectangular building. The south range has a slate covered roof whilst The Crypt has a flat felt roof.

INTERIOR: On the ground floor is the south cloister walk; a C15 rib-vaulted walkway 15 bays long. The vaults are built of brick, plastered and limewashed, and rest on stone corbels supported by engaged columns. Several rib-vaulted rooms, now serving as stores and a kitchen, and a mid-C19 stairwell are attached to the west end of the north wall. The room nearest the stairwell contains two blocked stone arches in its south and west wall. The first floor has offices, dressing rooms and toilets leading off a corridor at the east end. There are traces of a pre-1861 decorative scheme including a curved cornice to two rooms and a niche in the south wall of the corridor. At the west end is a toilet and two meeting rooms with mid-C19 stone fireplaces and exposed timber-framing to the roof. The fireplaces have foliage carving to the spandrels, and one has Corinthian columns and corbels supporting the mantelshelf. There are mid-C19 timber-boarded doors with decorative iron hinges to the meeting rooms, toilet and adjacent stairwell. The second floor contains a later C19 toilet and a meeting room.

The 1863 infill range between the south cloister walk and St Andrew’s Hall contains several storage rooms, modern services and toilets. There is a mid-C19 four-centred arched doorway within the ladies toilet with carved spandrels depicting the coats of arms of Norwich and the Guild of St. Georges.

The Crypt is approached at the west through a four-centred arched doorway with carved spandrels. It contains a mid-C19 door with decorative iron hinges. A staircase leads down into the square rib-vaulted vestibule or ante-chapel, which has chamfered brick vaults supported on a central stone pier with a moulded capital. There is a blocked C14 quadruple-chamfered arched window in the west wall, and a blocked C14 arched window, two part-blocked windows and an arched doorway in the east wall. The remaining openings were inserted in the C19 and C20. Next to the east doorway, which leads out to the remains of Becket’s Chapel, are two arched recesses, one of which may have served as a stoup.

EAST GARTH AND EAST CLOISTER WALK

East range of Dominican Friary, originally serving as the east cloister walk and dorter. C15, altered in 1861 and in 2011.

PLAN: A two storey range (now known as the East Garth) with a hipped roof, attached to a single-storey east cloister walkway at the south.

EXTERIOR: the west front of the east range faces the cloister garth. The ground floor comprises a six bay arcade of two-centred, quadruple-chamfered, brick-built arches; four arches to the East Garth, separated by stepped buttresses, and two arches to the east cloister walkway attached at the south. The first floor is set-back from the ground floor. It contains several blocked openings as well as five C19 casement windows and a C15 cinquefoil-headed single-light window under a hoodmould in the third bay. This is the only surviving original window within the cloister. There are four dormers to the attics. The arches of the ground floor arcade contain C20 glass panels and 2011 fixed panes apart from the first bay which is partly infilled with brick with a 2011 timber-boarded door. The main entrance is through a glass doorway in the third bay. The north elevation has several blocked doorways which originally led to buildings on the north side of the cloister.

The east elevation of the East Garth has three bays separated by buttresses. At ground floor level there is a large blocked segmental-headed brick arch to the first bay, a blocked square-headed doorway to the second bay and a sash window in the third bay. The first floor contains two blocked openings in the first bay, two casement windows with timber lintels to the second bay, and two small casements to the third bay. There are four dormers and a corbelled brick chimney to the roof. The south elevation contains two sash windows and a dormer window. Attached to the east side of the east cloister walk are the remains of the chapter house (a scheduled monument).

INTERIOR: The East Garth contains a computer room, offices and photography studio. On the ground floor are remains of the C14 inner wall of the cloister walkway and cross walls displayed within glass cases (these form part of a scheduled monument). The joists to the first floor are supported by straight braces. One tie beam survives to the roof, which is otherwise a rafter and purlin roof.

WEST GARTH AND FIRST BAY OF ADJOINING RANGE

West range of Dominican Friary, originally serving as the west cloister walk, frater, and possibly the kitchen. C15, altered in 1861 when the west elevation was refaced in polychrome brickwork by the architect James S Benest.

PLAN: A two-storey gabled range (now known as the West Garth), and the first bay of an adjoining two-storey gabled range at the north, which incorporates C15 flint-built fabric and formed part of the north-west corner of the friary cloister.

EXTERIOR: the east front of the west range faces the cloister garth. On the ground-floor are (from left to right): a three bay arcade of two-centred, quadruple-chamfered, brick-built arches; a mid-C19 semi-circular brick stair turret built against the fourth arch; a lean-to entry porch; and a carriage entrance. The first floor includes four mid-C19 casement windows and several blocked openings. The three arches of the ground floor arcade contain two mid-C19 casement windows and a late C20 doorway. Originally the arches were separated by stepped buttresses; two survive between the first and second, and third and fourth bays. The stair turret is constructed of red brick with a corbelled eaves cornice beneath a conical slate roof. It is lit by three narrow shoulder-arched windows. Immediately to the north is the entrance porch covered by a lean-to roof. In the sixth bay is the segmental-headed carriage entrance. The range has a slate roof with a limestone coping to the gables.

Attached to the north side of the west range is a low two-storey range adjoined to the former Technical Institute of 1899 (now Norwich University of the Arts). The first bay of this range incorporates C15 flint-built fabric and formed part of the north-west corner of the friary cloister. It has a segmental-headed casement window to the ground floor, a sash window to the first floor, and a pan-tiled roof containing a dormer window and red-brick chimney stack.

The west elevation of the west range was elaborately refaced by James S Benest in Gothic Revival style in 1861. It is built of cream-coloured brickwork laid in Flemish bond with red brick banding to the walls, limestone and blue brick dressings, and a red brick plinth. There are seven bays; the southern two bays are an extension of the south cloister range, which projects four bays from the front of the elevation, whilst the remaining five bays form part of the West Garth. The ground floor of the extension has a pointed arched doorway of two orders resting on Corinthian columns to the southernmost bay, and paired sash windows under pointed arches to the adjacent bay. Set into the arch of the doorway is a tympanum pierced by a cinquefoil and quatrefoils, supported on corbels decorated with angels. The surrounding brickwork projects from the elevation, being flush with the outer order of the arch, and is surmounted by a brick cornice and tile covering. In the spandrels of the arch are two stone busts. A corbelled string course separates the storeys and is carried around the whole of the west front. To the first floor are two gable windows; paired sashes in pointed arched surrounds with geometric tracery. The dividing mullions are formed from Corinthian columns. A corbelled chimney stack is built into one of the gables. The north elevation of the extension is similar to the west. The ground floor contains a pointed arched doorway of two orders, three lancet windows and a sash window under a pointed arch of two orders. In the first floor is a paired sash window under a side gable, a narrow lancet, and an elaborate tripartite window of three recessed cusped lancets with octafoil tracery, each under side gables. The remaining five bays of the elevation comprise a ground floor with (from north to south): a carriage entrance, two single sashes under pointed arches and two tripartite sashes under pointed arches supported by Corinthian columns, recessed within segmental pointed arches under hoodmoulds. To the first floor are five gable windows (and a sixth behind the south cloister extension); three single sashes under pointed arches and two-paired sashes matching those of the south cloister extension. A corbelled string course runs between the window cills and there is a cornice and brick parapet to the roof. The gables are surmounted by cross finials and moulded brick chimney stacks.

INTERIOR: The west range contains a photography studio, offices and art studio. There is an 1861 common rafter roof with ashlar pieces supporting the rafters and soulaces supporting the collars.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: A polychrome brick BOUNDARY WALL with a red brick plinth, brick buttresses, and blue brick banding and patterning, encloses a garden in front of the west range. There is a C20 gate set into the west side of the wall and an adjoining flint return wall. The west boundary wall contributes to the special interest of the principal buildings and is included in the listing.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the following are not of special architectural or historic interest: the early C21 glass screen and kitchen units in the south porch of St Andrew’s Hall; the C20 stage and stage lighting, retractable seating, late C20 foyers, and glass automatic sliding doors in St Andrew’s Hall; the glass automatic sliding doors, reception desk, wheel chair lift, early C21 staircase, and late C20 fitted bar in the cross passage (or ‘walking place’); the C20 stage, 1980’s timber panels and late C20 chandeliers in Blackfriars Hall; the C20 and early C21 internal partitions within the infill range between St Andrew’s Hall and the south cloister walk; the C20 glass fire screen, late C20 stair lift in the south cloister walk; the C20 internal partitions, fitted worktops and fixtures to the kitchens and store rooms adjoining the north-west side of the south cloister walk; the C20 cupboards and stairs in The Crypt; the boiler room, boiler and plant; the external steel staircase to the East Garth; the internal 2011 lift and staircase, 2011 internal partitions and doors, and steel trusses to the photographic studios in the East Garth; the external steel staircase to the West Garth; the C20 and C21 internal partitions and suspended ceilings in the West Garth; as well as all C20 and early C21 toilets and toilet cubicles. In addition it is declared that the whole of the late C20 lean-to service range attached to the south side of Blackfriars Hall is not of special architectural or historic interest.

History

A friary was established on this site by the Penitential Friars in 1258 but was later taken over by the Dominicans and occupied until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538. A friary was an institution housing a community of friars. The friars (from the Latin ‘frater’ meaning ‘brother’) were a religious movement which advocated a ‘mendicant’ lifestyle, of absolute poverty, supported exclusively by begging and the gift of alms. Friars lived in the community, preaching and undertaking charitable works, often moving from town to town. Nevertheless, they did establish permanent bases; friaries, from which, unlike monks, they emerged to fulfil their mission. The buildings centred on a church and a cloister and usually contained a refectory (dining hall), a chapter house and an infirmary (for the care of the sick). Five orders of friars established friaries in Norwich: the Dominicans (known by the colour of their robes as ‘Black Friars’), the Franciscans (‘Grey Friars’), Carmelites (‘White Friars’), Austin Friars and the Penitential Friars (‘Sack Friars’).

The Dominicans were founded by St Dominic in 1218 as a religious order committed to learning and preaching. They arrived in England in 1221 and reached Norwich five years later, establishing a friary to the north of the river Wensum, between what is now Colegate Street and Golden Dog Lane. In 1307 they took over the buildings of the Penitential Friars, south of the River Wensum, after that order was supressed by Pope Clement V. A church and other buildings already existed; the C13 chapel (originally dedicated to St Mary but subsequently re-dedicated to St Thomas-a-Becket) and an adjacent vestibule (now known as ‘The Crypt’) still survive today. The Dominicans remodelled these buildings; inserting brick vaulted ceilings to support upper floors. They obtained the surrounding properties and expanded the friary. It eventually included the area between the river on the north, Princes Street on the south, St George’s Street on the west and Monastery Lane and Elm Hill on the east. A new cloister was constructed with a covered walkway and four ranges built around an open courtyard (the cloister garth). On the east side was a dorter (dormitory) and chapter house, on the west was a frater (refectory), and at the north were probably kitchens and storerooms. From c1327 a church dedicated to St John the Baptist was built at the south (on the present site of St Andrew’s Hall and Blackfriars’ Hall). The west end could only be completed after 1345 when royal sanction was given to construct over two roads; one that continued the line of Elm Hill westward and another at right angles to it.

In 1413 a serious fire broke out in Norwich. Two friars were killed and the Dominican’s church and conventual buildings suffered severe damage. They temporarily moved back to their original site across the river until 1449 while carrying out rebuilding. The church was reconstructed between c1440 and 1470 but incorporated several windows of the earlier building. It comprised a large nave and chancel separated by a cross passage (the ‘walking place’), which was surmounted by a tower. The nave is now St Andrew’s Hall and the chancel is Blackfriars’ Hall. Many of Norwich’s wealthiest families donated towards its construction, including the Appleyards, Wetherbys and Cliftons. The Dominicans used both the church and a preaching yard to the south to deliver lectures and sermons. The Friary possessed an extensive library and there is evidence that there was a regular school of philosophy and lectures open to local parish priests and clergy. The Friars performed the usual offices (church services) but welcomed the public to their evening service of compline. An anchoress was housed within the friary and led a life dedicated to prayer, meditation and counselling. The first recorded is Katherine Foster who lived in a cell north of the chancel in 1472; three arched recesses survive of this building. By the 1530s the friary suffered a decline and several possessions and properties were sold off. Part of the churchyard was leased to a haberdasher, William Alman, who was licenced to build a house provided he threw ‘nothing filthy’ from his windows.

In 1538 the friary was suppressed as part of the Dissolution, and the furnishings sold. It was purchased by the City Council; the mayor, Augustine Steward, paying £81 in 1540 and a further £152 in 1544. He proposed ‘To make the churche a fayer and large halle, well pathed, for the mayor and his bretherne…for their common assemblyes…to fynd a perpetual free-scole therin’ and to keep a chapel ‘to pray to Almightye God’. The building was repaved, lodgings built at the east, and three chambers added over the south porch for the priest. Part of the preaching yard was leased out as a garden. The nave of the church was converted into an assembly hall called the ‘New Hall’ and used for a variety of purposes including: ceremonial feasts, Guild meetings, as a corn market, as Assize Courts, and for receptions. The walls were white-washed, benches built between the pillars, and the crossing arch blocked up. The Norwich City Library was established in the south porch (rebuilt in 1774), which became the first public lending library in the country in 1716 but later moved in 1794. Several buildings were constructed around the west porch. An inventory records a pantry, buttery, kitchen, ‘scalding house’ (for preparing meat), backhouse, ‘buttying house’ (for sifting bran and flour), wet and dry larders and a counting house. The chancel became a municipal and guild chapel. In the later C16 there was a large influx of Dutch and French-speaking Protestant refugees into Norwich, bringing particular skills in textile production. The Dutch population (also known as ‘strangers’ or ‘walloons’) began to use the chancel from 1579, which became known as the ‘Dutch Church’, and services continued in Dutch until 1929.

The cloister was used for a range of purposes after the Dissolution. The Earl of Warwick stabled his horses at the site in 1549 whilst on his way to suppress Kett’s rebellion. During the later C16 the refectory was used as a granary and part of the cloister was used by the Norwich Grammar School. Several buildings were used to examine and seal cloths produced by the Walloon weavers. The reredorter (lavatories) was converted into a water cistern, occasionally used as a swan pen. A pulpit and seats were installed in the preaching yard, which became known as the Green Yard. The east range became a place of worship used by Presbyterians from 1672 and Baptists from 1689. A mint was established within the cloister during the Great Recoinage of 1696. In 1712 a hexagonal tower positioned over the cross passage of the church dramatically collapsed. The buildings were repaired (albeit without the tower) and continued to serve civic functions. From 1712 to 1859 part of the cloister served as a workhouse. In 1824 St Andrew’s Hall became the venue of a triennial music festival; The Norfolk and Norwich Festival, and an organ built by John Gray was installed at the west end.

Two major restorations were undertaken in the mid-C19. In 1861 the cloister was altered: the exterior walls were repaired in brick; new windows and a second floor added above the south cloister walk to provide ‘Hall Keeper’s apartments’; the west elevation of the west range was refaced with polychrome brick, the upper floor heightened, a stair turret added at the east, and a small enclosed garden created at the west (resulting in the demolition of several buildings). The north range of the cloister may also have been demolished at this time; maps indicate that it was torn down between 1762 and 1885. St Andrew’s Hall hosted performances by the opera singer Jenny Lind in 1856 and readings by Charles Dickens in 1859 and 1861. In 1863 the City Surveyor, T.D. Barry, carried out major changes to the hall: a new arch was inserted at the east end and the organ placed beneath it; the west front was refenestrated; the south porch reconstructed; buttresses on the north side repaired; the windows restored; the internal piers and arches restored; the ceiling redecorated; replastering and re-pointing carried out; and new ‘retiring rooms’ for performers built between the hall and south cloister walkway. Becket’s chapel was partly demolished in 1876 and a new organ installed in St Andrew’s Hall in 1880. The new organ, built by Bryceson Brothers and Ellis, retained the central case of the earlier organ (the organ console and some of the mechanical parts were replaced in 1927 and 1984). In 1899 a Technical Institute was built to the north of the cloister (now Norwich University of the Arts). Blackfriars’ Hall was utilised by the Royal Engineers during the First World War. A new wooden floor was inserted after the war and the roofs of both halls were repaired.

In 1915 the former friary was scheduled. It was one of the first sites in Norfolk to be scheduled, as indicated by its original old county number: Norfolk 4. In 1954 the standing buildings were Grade I listed. The east window of Blackfriars’ Hall was restored in 1959. A programme of alterations were undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s including: the excavation and repair of Becket’s Chapel; redecoration of Blackfriar’s Hall with oak panelling to display civic portraits; a new stage, pull out seating and double glazing in St Andrew’s Hall; a bar inserted into the cross passage; further restoration of the cloisters, and conversion of the vestibule next to Becket’s Chapel into a café. In 1988 the first floor of the south porch was re-plastered and remains of an earlier porch discovered within the structure. The organ in St Andrew’s Hall was awarded a ‘Historic Organ Certificate of Recognition’ by the British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS) in 2010, which was revised to Grade II on the National Pipe Organ Register in 2016. The BIOS listing stated that the organ is listed at ‘Grade II for the surviving elements of the 1827 Gray case and the contribution it makes to the architectural ensemble of the building, and for the surviving Bryceson pipework’. In 2011 the East Garth building was refurbished and a lift inserted. The two halls continue to serve many purposes in 2016; as a venue for conferences, antique fairs, markets, weddings, concerts and an annual beer festival. The east and west ranges (East and West Garth) are used by Norwich University of the Arts.

Reasons for Listing

The former Dominican friary (Blackfriars), Norwich, a medieval friary built from the C13 onwards, is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:

* Rarity: as the most complete surviving medieval friary in England and one of only 15 friaries to retain significant upstanding remains;
* Degree of survival: the friary church is substantially intact and three ranges of the cloister retain a substantial proportion of medieval fabric;
* Architectural interest: the arches of the cloister arcade and vaulted ceiling of the south walkway are an impressive medieval survival whilst the former church is a fine example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture;
* Design: the former church, with a tall, wide, open nave with slender arcade piers, provided good sight lines for large public gatherings and well reflects the friars ethos for learning and preaching, as well as ensuring its continued use as municipal halls since 1540;
* Materials: the claustral complex represents an early use of brickwork in medieval England, whilst the limestone ashlar of the church clerestory was an expensive material imported into the region;
* Historic interest: as a friary with a major role in the community for nearly 300 years before serving a municipal role for nearly 500 years since the Dissolution, including as stables for army horses during Kett’s Rebellion (1549), a mint during the Great Recoinage (1696), England’s first public lending library (1716), and halls where Charles Dickens read and the opera singer Jenny Lind performed during the mid-C19;
* Group value: through association with the scheduled remains of the friary and proximity with the adjacent listed buildings on Elm Hill, St Georges Street and Princes Street, including the St Peter Hungate Church.

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