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Undercroft beneath 3, Queen Street, Norwich

A Grade II* Listed Building in Thorpe Hamlet, Norfolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6301 / 52°37'48"N

Longitude: 1.2979 / 1°17'52"E

OS Eastings: 623280

OS Northings: 308701

OS Grid: TG232087

Mapcode National: GBR W9P.L8

Mapcode Global: WHMTM.X560

Entry Name: Undercroft beneath 3, Queen Street, Norwich

Listing Date: 5 June 1972

Last Amended: 3 February 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1291066

English Heritage Legacy ID: 229446

Location: Norwich, Norfolk, NR2

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 George, Tombland

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

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Summary

A medieval undercroft dating to the C15.

Description

Undercroft, constructed in the C15 of brick.

EXTERIOR: the undercroft is completely below ground. It is below a late-C20 commercial building that is not of special architectural interest, and is not included in the listing.

INTERIOR: the undercroft is set back from the street line. Access to the undercroft is from the ground floor of the building above, down a winder stair within a circular stair turret; this is one of only two known in the city. The opening to the turret at basement level has a Tudor arch, with right-angled depressions to either side, suggesting that a door was at one time inset. The undercroft is an irregular rectangle in plan, c.7 metres by 7.50 metres; across the centre, from west to east, is a modern breeze block wall with a central opening. The roof is a slightly pointed barrel vault. To the north is a low arched recess, above which is a rectangular window-sized recess, and there is a small arched niche set into the wall to the west. The south wall also contains a rectangular window-sized recess.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the part of No.3 Queen Street above the undercroft is not of special architectural or historic interest.

MAP: the undercroft has been mapped as accurately as possible using survey and office plans, but as these only show internal dimensions, some allowance has been estimated for the thickness of medieval walls and the depth of recesses.

History

By the time of the Norman Conquest Norwich had become the fourth largest borough in England, formed from the merging of five smaller late Anglo Saxon settlements. The town provided a thriving market for a rich agricultural hinterland, and was also well placed for trading links with Scandinavia. The presence of a successful mercantile community in Norwich from the early medieval period, requiring storage for goods, may explain in part the considerable number of undercrofts within the medieval city walls, but the high number makes this a unique collection, with 69 at least known to survive, and a further 33 recorded but demolished. Barrel and rib vaulting are the two main types of construction seen, with variations within each type, and areas vary from 10.7 square metres to 97 square metres, the latter an inserted late-C15 undercroft at the Music House in King Street. The Music House is listed at Grade I, and is unusual in being earlier than its undercroft; in most cases, as with the undercrofts to Nos.1, 3 and 5 Queen Street, the original buildings (which may have been timber framed) have been replaced, perhaps several times. On Queen Street No.1 is the earliest, a late-C17 building with C19 additions, while No.5 is a late-C19 commercial building with a largely contemporary cellar.

No. 3 Queen Street is a late-C20 structure, beneath which is a C15 undercroft. The undercroft was listed at Grade II* in 1972.

Reasons for Listing

The C15 undercroft at No.3 Queen Street, Norwich, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Historical interest: one of 69 known medieval undercrofts in Norwich, a collection that illustrates the city’s mercantile history and wealth;

* Rarity: medieval undercrofts are rare survivors, rarely found as a group or collection, as they are in Norwich;

* Architectural interest: of more than special architectural interest for its medieval fabric, and particularly for the rare, surviving stair turret;

* Group value: it has group value with the other known medieval undercrofts in the city, many of which are listed at Grade II*.

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