Despenser Reredos, 1382, detail. St Luke's Chapel, Norwich Cathedral. CC BY-SA 4.0. Image: J An.

study visits

Norwich Cathedral

  • Monday 17 June 2024
    (1.15pm for 1.30pm start - Meet inside West Door)
  • Norwich Cathedral
  • Leader: John McNeill

Norwich Cathedral was begun on a new site by Bishop Herbert de Lozinga in or shortly after 1091. Much of the surviving building remains Romanesque, consisting of an apse-ambulatory, deep if narrow transepts and a vast fourteen-bay nave – the latter boasting the most sophisticated of any Romanesque elevation in eastern England. The presbytery clerestory was replaced in the fourteenth century, and vaults were added piecemeal over choir, transepts and nave during the late middle ages, but most of what survives of Norwich Cathedral dates from between 1091 and c. 1145. What survives of Romanesque Norwich is unquestionably important, one of three cathedral campaigns begun over the 1090s (the others being Durham and Anselm’s new eastern arm at Canterbury Cathedral), that might be said to signal a change of direction in Anglo-Norman architecture. Outside the church, the cloister walks were famously reconstructed as the result of damage caused by a city riot in 1272 – a slow process which was only completed when the bosses of the north walk were set into position during the 1420s. A refectory and infirmary partly survive to the south of the cloister, while to the west is a fourteenth-century charnel house and chapel and two magnificent late medieval precinct gates.

All this and more will be considered over the course of the afternoon.


Norwich is easily reached by train from London Liverpool Street.


John McNeill lectures for the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University and is a Vice-President of the London Art History Society for whom he has delivered numerous courses and led study tours and cathedral visits. He is the Secretary of the British Archaeological Association, for whom he has edited and contributed to volumes on English medieval cloisters, chantries and Romanesque material culture.

Members only

Waiting list only

This event is fully booked. Members may apply for one of the limited number of waiting list places, but no payment should be made. If a place becomes available, the waiting list will be contacted in chronological order and payment will be requested at that time. Please contact the event organiser if in doubt.

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