Shoppers and stallholders stepped back through the centuries as history was brought back to life in one of Norwich’s ancient buildings.

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Dragon Hall’s medieval Christmas market took place over the weekend and saw the Grade I-listed building – which dates from around 1430 – go back to its medieval trading hall roots.

The hall was filled with a kaleidoscope of festive gifts and crafts giving great inspiration to Christmas shoppers looking for unusual and extra special presents.

More than 1,200 shoppers came to have a look at the market on Saturday and more than 800 people on Sunday.

Georgie Thorpe, from Dragon Hall, said: “About 2,000 people came to the market which we are really happy with. We have had lots of positive comments and some great feedback.

“It is great to see Dragon Hall used for events such as this because it brings the building back to life.”

Dragon Hall volunteer Mike Spivey was dressed as the hall’s founder, merchant Robert Toppes, for the occasion.

He said: “The market gave everyone a taste of what Dragon Hall was like when it was a trading hall – it is the closest we will probably ever get what it was like.”

Andrea Young, from Wattlefield Pottery, was among the stallholders who were dressed in medieval attire for the occasion.

She said: “It is so nice to trade in this beautiful medieval trading hall. It is lovely to see it come to life. This is one of my favourite events because of the great atmosphere and the pageantry. It is just lovely.”

Jewellery-maker Bev Ferri, who works in King’s Lynn, said: “The medieval market is wonderful. It was my fifth year. It just has such a lovely atmosphere and there are so many different stalls. It is the best fair I do during the year.”

People were also treated to the sounds of mid-14th century music by Pearl in the Egg historical musicians Liz Moore, from Norwich, and Karen Wareham, from Beccles, who played an assortment of instruments including a harp, a rebec, various medieval recorders, a crumhorn and a psaltery.

People were also able to find out about historic washing and cleaning at Sally Mittuch and Scott Vincent’s stall devoted to natural and old-fashioned cleaning products and methods.

Among the shoppers who were enjoying looking around the market were Nathan Pounds, 23, and Amy Wilkes, 22, who are from Norwich but live in London. They said it was nice how the market was themed around the history of the hall.

Andy and Lynne Woodall, from Earlham, also popped in to have a look around and enjoyed savouring a glass of mulled wine.

Built by merchant Robert Toppes and at the heart of his international trading empire, in its heyday Dragon Hall would have been filled with wool, cloth, timber, spices, pottery and other items that could be bought and sold.

Are you organising a festive event in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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