Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A fine village in a fine city - but no pub


I’VE MOVED on now to the tricky subject of Norwich Cathedral. Tricky in that people write massive tomes on this magnificent building and I don’t think I can justify more than about 700 words.

There’s an impressive amount of proper history here of course. A humdinger of a city versus monks row culminating in a 1272 riot which saw at least 13 people die. The dissolution of the priory in 1538, the ejection of the bishop during the Civil War and a near escape during the WW2 bombings.


I think the key is to see it as part of The Close ..which of course runs down to my all-important river. The sheer ambition of its founder Herbert de Losinga all those years ago is impressive. He set out to appropriate a truly massive site – 42 acres in all. Nine hundred years later it survives in its entirety.

So as a close you’ve got a cathedral, a school, and a community. (“A Fine Village in a Fine City” said the Dean back in 1976. Thanks for that Mr Very Reverend.)  Pull’s Ferry used to protect a canal which ran up to the cathedral. And I’ve just been reading some stuff on how The Close used to be full of dodgy alehouses. But by the mid 18th century there were just the five. The Ferry House, The Gate House, The Black Jack, The Three Cranes and the Garden House. There’s a challenge for CAMRA. Reinstating a boozer into the genteel world of The Close …and calling it traditional.

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