Past in its Place – Norwich

This post was originally placed on Howard Williams’ ‘Archaeodeath’ blog.

I have just returned from Norwich. I was attending a project meeting and conducting research linked to the Leverhulme Trust and European Research Council funded ‘The Past in its Place’ project.

Norwich Cathedral from the cloister

The visit included three from Chester – Ruth Nugent, Patricia Murrieta-Flores and myself. We were joined by seven researchers – historians, literary scholars and geographers – from the University of Exeter. As well as the project leader Philip Schwyzer, there was Nicola Whyte, Sarah Hamilton, David Harvey, Naomi Howell and Joanne Parker. Paul Bryant-Quinn is the tenth member of the project.

Norwich Cathedral is one of our case studies for Strand 1 of the project: ‘Speaking with the Dead’ focusing on cathedral tombs and memorials. I had visited before, but I was keen to get back and explore the memorials in all their detail and variability, from medieval effigies to 19th and 20th -century ledgers and mural monuments.

View of Norwich from Kett’s Hill

Meanwhile, ‘Norwich and Mousehold Heath’ is one of our case study areas, investigating strand 3 of the project: ‘Topographies of Memory’, looking at landscapes in which memories accrued through literary traditions and cultural practices over the longue duree. One of our areas of interest here is in the commemoration of Kett’s Rebellion in texts and in the landscape.Our activities included:

  1. A Project Meeting opened by a formal welcome to Patricia to the project
  2. A visit to the Cathedral Library
  3. A visit to the Records Office
  4. A tour of the historic streets and churches of Norwich
  5. A visit to Kett’s Hill and the ruins of St Michael’s church
  6. Three separate explorations of the cathedral’s tombs and memorials, the second with the cathedral’s librarians, the third with expert death scholar, Dr Julien Litten, author of The English Way of Death.
  7. A visit and exploration around Norwich Castle Museum led by Dr Tim Pestell, early medieval archaeologist and author of Landscapes of Monastic Foundation.

Here are some photos of our adventures.

Dr Julian Litten meets Paty, Philip and Ruth
Paty and Ruth head for lunch at the Adam and Eve pub
Visitors leaving Norwich Castle Museum stick their used entrance badges on the bin
Norwich Castle
Statue of Sir Thomas Browne
Exploring Kett’s Heights overlooking Norwich – a surprisingly steep hill with fine views over the city.
Inside the Norman donjon of Norwich Castle
The area around the cathedral is known as ‘tombland’