Paddy and Plunkett, Bewitched by Norwich!

Another day, another city!

Paddy and Plunkett have really been making the most of their tour of East Anglia, and today’s post finds them in another place famed for its cathedral – Norwich! Here’s the cathedral coming into view now… And as you can probably guess, Plunkett is champing at the bit to get inside for a look!
Norwich Cathedral - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAccording to Plunkett’s research, this cathedral is more than 900 years old (construction started in 1096) and boasts the second tallest spire in England – a fitting landmark for a city that, in the 11th century, was second only to London in size and importance. Shall we wander over for a closer look?
St Ethelbert's Gate - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesTalk about making an entrance! This is one of two gates into the cathedral grounds. It’s called St Ethelbert’s Gate, and it actually used to contain a chapel to its namesake in its second storey. And although it looks like the real deal, this isn’t the original gate! It’s a 14th century rebuild, after the first one was destroyed in the riot of 1272.

Inside the cathedral, the boys were impressed by the beautiful long cloisters – perfect for a Beastie-sized afternoon stroll!
Cathedral Cloisters at Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHowever, like many visitors, they weren’t able to agree on the new stained glass windows. They were designed by English abstract artist John McLean, and were installed on the north aisle in 2014. Apparently they’ve been causing controversy ever since!
Norwich cathedral new stained glass - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy loves the rich colours, and the way the bright light bounces around this corridor, which he thought would be pretty dark and boring otherwise. On the other hand, Plunkett really would have preferred to see something more traditional, and in keeping with the rest of the building. Whose side are you on?

Had the lads visited Norwich in the early 1400s, they would have been able to settle their dispute once and for all. A short walk away from the cathedral is St Julian’s Church, which was home to the anchoress Julian of Norwich.
St. Julian's Church, Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough there’s little concrete information about her life, Julian of Norwich is still considered an important mystic and theologian. Her account of her religious visions, “Revelations of Divine Love” is thought to be the first book written in English by a female author! She lived out her days in a small cell in a church on this site, and her only contact with the outside world was through two small windows – one into the church, and the other looking onto St Julian’s Alley outside. Members of the public could pass by and ask Mother Julian for advice, and I think it’s fair to presume that she was called upon to settle a few disagreements in her time!
Mother Julian's Cell - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe realΒ St Julian’s Church didn’t survive the Reformation during the reign of Henry VIII, but the building that stands today, as well as giving an impression of what the original would have looked like, tells a story of its own. The stones used to build it were reclaimed from another church, which was destroyed during the Second World War. Plunkett certainly seems to be enjoying the peace and quiet of this contemplative place!

Of course, it wasn’t long before Paddy felt the need for something a little more lively… A spot of shopping, perhaps?
Shopping in Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, this beautiful Art Nouveau arcade has enough architectural interest to keep Plunkett entertained too!

Oh, and then he spotted THESE…
Traditional Flint Walls - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Not just any old stone wall, my friends! A stone wall made with the hard-wearing local flint! Beautiful! Incredible!

Uh-oh! I think we’ve lost him for the day! This all seems too familiar to poor Paddy, who remembers what happened on last year’s trip to Arundel Castle.

“I’ll leave you to it there, Plunkett! I’m going to go and hang out with these guys instead!”
Paddy with decorative flint walling. Town Hall, Norwich - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesI reckon there’s room in all that fancy stonework for a Beastie-shaped addition – what do you think?

More from the boys in a couple of weeks… I wonder where they’ll end up next?

38 thoughts on “Paddy and Plunkett, Bewitched by Norwich!

  1. Ohhhhhh Julian – good find, Paddy and Plunkett! What’s her deal? Extensive, in-depth research (that I’ve just done at my desk at work) reveals that her anchoressness was clearly really just self-imposed quarantine from all the sickly, gross people of Norwich. The Julian Centre website states, ‘[…] at the time, the citizens of Norwich suffered from plague and poverty, as well as a famine, she must have counselled a lot of people in pain’. Uh huh – if by ‘counselled’ you mean fled from them in disgust and relegated them to only speaking to her through small window. Of course, she she had the right idea, and I applaud this action – whilst people were dropping around her like flies, Julian apparently reached the ripe ol’ age of (at least) 74!

    1. Smart lady! Perhaps her real genius – which obviously went unacknowledged at the time – was a grasp of what causes diseases to spread. I actually found out (in an unrelated tumbling down the internet rabbithole of “ooh, that’s interesting” a while back) that Britain was crammed with anchorites and anchoresses back in the day… Well, as crammed as it’s possible to be when you choose to seal yourself into a cell and live out your days in isolation. And, unlike the rest of Europe, anchoresses were much more common than their male counterparts! It must have been a pretty appealing life, compared with the alternative – endless childbearing and horrible painful death from plague at 30! Cheers for reading, and your extra-credit research!

      1. Super interesting topic! I’d like to read more, especially re: gender. I think I would prefer to go down the hermit route (as it seems to be less binding and I usually picture them hanging out in a nice cottage in some lovely woods), but both vocations have their merits πŸ™‚ And Sister Wendy was apparently a modern day hermit – so perhaps an apt topic for a weekesian post!

    1. Yes, Norwich looks like a great place to visit! And my research turned up loads more interesting places that the Beasties didn’t get to this time around, too. Let us know if you go yourself, and thanks for reading! πŸ˜€

  2. Norwich is one of my favourite places in England (York is my favourite). I used to live in Essex when my husband worked in London and we often used to escape up the Suffolk coast and to Norfolk. Norwich was always a pleasing getaway.

    1. Thanks, Laura! I think I might have to follow in Paddy and Plunkett’s pawprints someday, it looks like there’s so much to do there. I hope the boys did your second-favourite English city justice! πŸ˜€

  3. Now THAT is a mighty fine looking cloister! From the photo you’ve posted, I’d have to say those stained glass windows are a win in my book. I love the colors they’ve scattered through the interior. Although I suppose I can understand that some people may not want their cathedral looking like a disco (picky picky). As long as no BeeGees music starts playing I think Norwich will survive. Thanks for the tour.

    1. What, no Bee Gees? Ah well, each to their own I suppose πŸ˜‚… I think I found pictures of the actual windows on the Cathedral’s website if you want to take a look and decide once and for all. I actually really like the designs… But somehow they seem kind of “off” for such a grand building. Let me know what you think!

      1. Ah, I see what you mean. Personally, I really like them, but maybe a different setting might be more appropriate. A setting like perhaps my front room would be perfect if the church wants to send a few panels over! πŸ˜‹

  4. I’m speechless. That looks so cool and I really want to jump on a plane and visit. In my next live I’m planning on being a Beastie!

  5. Wonderful pictures. I love that flint wall! It looks like it has been around and has very much stood the test of time! And I’d never heard the story of the anchoress of Norwich. I’ll have to look read more about her, and I would be very interested in looking at her writings. Oh, and look at those arcades – an absolute blast from the past (or recently built?). Looks like a very fun time with P&P, Helen!

    1. Yes, I wish they’d bring me with them sometime πŸ˜† Apparently being an anchoress was quite a popular career choice for women in Britain at that time… Compared with the rest of Europe, where their male counterparts were more common. And I think the arcade is the real deal, rather than a modern replica! Thanks for reading, Shirley!

    1. Yes, it looks fascinating! And the lads barely scratched the surface of all the great stuff there is to see and do there. Maybe you could do a follow-up visit, since you’re local and all… πŸ€”

        1. Beastie-led tourism! I like it! πŸ˜€ I think the next step is to start leaving those round blue heritage signs on places that have featured in Beastie adventures… πŸ˜‰ Have a great weekend, wherever you end up!

        2. You know what? That is a great idea, maybe not heritage signs, but a sticker to put somewhere saying a beastie was here and your blog address.

        3. I would. I’m happy to help with all things beastie. You could send some with every beastie and sell them for the loyal travellers who want to keep it up! They pay you to advertise… How shrewd am I? Lol

  6. Interesting to see other options for serious hermiting. And I thought I was hardcore. πŸ™‚ I think I’m a fan of how that colour filters through the new windows. Makes it extra interesting.

    1. It certainly adds colour, doesn’t it? And anchoress-ing does seem a good hermit option, in terms of getting free room and board, and avoiding the plague-carrying masses outside… But there is the flip side of all those people swinging by looking for sage advice!

      1. Good point. I could dispense with regular advice but I might have to wave a sage plant around to make it qualify as sage advice…or maybe I could pretend it was a talking sage plant only I could hear and dispense it’s advice…ah! Problem solved! πŸ™‚

  7. P.S. Guess who was the answer to a question on University Challenge (favourite show) on Monday night??!?!!?!?!?!!? Naturally, I shouted ‘JULIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!’ at the TV screen, like a lunatic.

    1. It’s the only way! I hope at least one of the teams got the answer right, or I’m going to have to make the BeastieBlog compulsory reading in all UK universities. (I also love me a bit of University Challenge, on the rare occasions I get to watch it!)

    1. Awww, thank you! They like to travel closer to home as well, so you might see some familiar Dublin sights in here from time to time πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by!

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