Norwich Over the Water

Norwich Over the Water



Norwich Over the Water is an area of the north city centre of Norwich City, Norfolk, England, UK.



The historic district of Norwich Over the Water probably contains the remains of the oldest settlements in the city[citation needed]. A Roman burial ground has been found in Eade Road, just to the north bf the area.

Norwich Over the Water was an Anglo-Saxon settlement and major trading area defended against attack on three sides. Archaeological excavations have unearthed part of a defensive structure starting in the St George's Street area heading and off towards Anglia Square in the north.

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, attacked Norwich in 1004 CE. The names of some of the churches still refer to the burning of the area, such as St Mary in Combusto which once stood close to Magdalen Gates.

When the town was rebuilt the area south of the river was also developed. It was after the city walls were built in 1290 CE that the area north of the river started to become known as Norwich Over the Water. In Tudor times the name Norwich Over the Water is used in official records such as those used for the calculation of taxes.

The area continued to be known as Norwich Over the Water until the expansion of the city past Magpie Road and Bull Close Road in the nineteenth century. After that, with outlying areas becoming part of the city, Norwich Over the Water gradually became part of the central city area. In 1832 the electoral reforms finally ended over 500 years of the name in official use.

Parishes and churches

St Augustine's church is on the east side of Guildencroft.

St Clement,

St Edmund's church in Fishgate Street, was founded in the reign of William I. It comprises a nave, chancel, south aisle, and tower with one bell. The arches of the nave are nearly flat, and the subarches are carried on shafts with moulded caps.

St George at Colegate,

St James's Church, in Cowgate, includes Pockthorpe in its parish, and was a well endowed rectory till 1201 when it was approprated to the Cathedral Priory.

St Mary at Coslany,

St Michael at Coslany (St Mile's),

St Saviour. St Saviour's church, in Magdalen Street, is a small structure, and has a square tower with two bells. It has some modern monuments. The south porch is now used as a baptistry. The font has an octagonal panelled basin, and is supported by four shafts resting on lions' heads and carried through ogee canopies with pinnacles between.

Lost churches

St Mary in Combusto Church which once stood close to Magdalen Gates.

St Olaf's church which stood at the junction of Magdalen Street and Botolph Street ( now under Anglia Square ). This area became known as Stump Cross after the remains of a medievial cross which stood there.

St Paul's church was in st Paul's Square or Plain. It had a round tower, the upper part of which was octagonal, but was rebuilt about 1819 of white brick with stone coping. It had some decorated windows, but was chiefly in the perpendicular style. There was a north aisle, and at the east end a parclose, the two screens of different patterns, but both in the same perpendicular stile. The church was burnt out on the 27/6/1942 during an air raid in world war II. After the war the church was repaired but in the 1960's was demolished to make way for the flyover which formed part of the inner ring road.

Parts of the area

STUMP CROSS named after the remains of a medievial cross which stood there, at the junction of Magdalen Street and Botolph Street.

MAGDALEN STREET has been the main shopping street of the area for hundred's of years, being a way through the Anglo - Saxon burgh or defended area and the princable road from the southern part of Norwich to the North. There have been bridges across the river for over 1000 years. In 1959 work with the Civic Trust was compleated to improve the building frontages, unkempt areas, and cluttered traffic signs as part of an experiment in civic design. On the 8 May 1959 Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys M. P. President of the Civic Trust, lead five hundred delegates from all over the country on a tour of inspection. It was the first of its kind and it was to become famous throughout the world. After this experiment launched further pilot schemes in Burslem, Windsor and Haddington.

Notable people

Thomas Anguish (died 1617), Matthew Parker (1504–1575) Archbishop of Canterbury, Luke Hansard (1752–1828), Amelia Opie (1769–1853), Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845), William Crotch (1775–1847), John Taylor (1694 - , Sir John Fastolf KG (1378–1459), George Brody (1866–1912),

George Brody (1866–1912) was a fish porter who lived in Saw Mills Yard of Oak Street. During the great floods of August 1912 he saved several women and children from the flood waters but lost his footing and was swept away. He left a crippled wife and aged mother. The Lord Mayor sent a floral tribute with a card saying " From the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Norwich as a mark of deep sympathy, and as a tribute of respect to a true hero, who gave his life in a noble endeavourto save the lives of others". Considerable public sympathy was shown at Norwich Cemetery when the funeral took place. A local aritst Mr Ovens proposed that a statue should be made and produced a modle. This however was not acted on. A poem was composed to George Brody by Ben Norton

Thomas Anguish (died 1617). In his will he made provision for helping the poor children of Norwich. He gave the city corporation property in Fishergate to be used as a hospital which opened in 1621. A charter was granted in 1628 by KIng Charles I, who demanded that it be called the children's Hospital in the City of Norwich of the Foundation of King Charles. Girls were admitted some years later. In 1864 a new house was opened for girls in Lakenham. The building in Fishergate was demolished in the 1930s.

The origional amount was proberly about £5000 which today stands at more than 8.5 million with Norwich Consolidation Charities.

He married his employer's daughter whos father ran a leading grocery firm. They lived in Tombland 1573 he became a freeman of the city. He also served as sheriff and Speaker of the Council. In 1611 he was elected mayor, but tragedy occurred when a big pageant and firework display outside his house went wrong and exploded accidentally. 33 people were crushed to death running from the fireworks. The city council have his portrate painting.

Sir John Fastolf KG (1378–1459). His main property was at Caster-on-Sea. He did however own a house in Cowgate Norwich, oppersite St James Church which is know the puppet theatre. The house became a public house and was demolished in the 1930s.

Matthew Parker (1504–1575) Archbishop of Canterbury

William Crotch (5 July 1775 – 29 December 1847) was an English composer, organist and artist.

Amelia Opie (1769–1853), born at 3 Snailgate, later renamed Calvert Street. She is famous as a writer.

Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845), prison reformer.

Luke Hansard (1752–1828), Publisher of the record of parliament.

Men from the area at the battle of Trafalgar

Pte (Royal Marines) William Bishop, age 26, St Martin's at Oak, Pte (Royal Marines) John Brady, age 16, St Edmund's, 2nd Lieut (Royal Marines) Armiger Watts Hubbard, age 22, St Augustine's, Pte (Royal Marines) John Miller, age 16, St Martin's at Oak, Pte (Royal Marines) Thomas Pound, age 29, St Michael at Coslany,(St Miles), Sgt (Royal Marines) James Secker, age 24, St Martin's at oak, Pte (Royal Marines) William Simmonds, age 32, St Martin's at Oak, Pte (Royal Marines) Peter Turtle, age 44, St Augustine's, Drummer (Royal Marines)George Whitfield Carlton, age 17, St Augustine's, Sgt (Royal Marines) Lavender Whall (Hall), age 25, St James.

The records do not show servicemen who have listed their address as just Norwich and not showing their parish. This means that there could be others from the area not listed here.

Norwich over the Water Groups

The first group formed to fight for Norwich Over the Water area was in the 1970s by the Rev Jack Burton and many others. The group campaigned to save the area at the time of the building of Anglia Square and council threats to the Colegate area. They achieved quite a bit of influence and managed to moderate some of the council's plans.

In 2002 a second Norwich Over the Water group was formed by Paul Scruton and David Bethell. The group fielded candidates in the local council elections, under the auspices of the Norwich Over the Water Party, separate but associated with the Norwich Over the Water group. The group gained permission from the Rev Burton to use the emblem that the first group had used in the 1970s.

The group has been responsible for producing many leaflets and promotional items advertising the area's business and history.



  • The Wards of the City of Norwich by Rev. William Hudson, M.A. 1891
  • Norwich at war by Joan Banger 1974, Wensum Books Norwich ISNN 0 903619 16 4
  • Magdalen Street, Norwich : An experiment in civic design 1958 - 59

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