11 of Norwich's oldest buildings

Strangers' Hall Museum. Photo: Denise Bradley.

Strangers Hall - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Norwich has a rich history, which can be seen in our buildings. Here is a list of some of the oldest buildings in the city, not including churches, castles, cathedrals, and incomplete buildings.

The Music House

The Music House - Credit: Google

The Music House

Considered the oldest dwelling house in Norwich, this was built in the 12th century, before 1170, to be a home for the Jurnet Family.

The Music House has 12th century walls and undercroft, with 15th and 20th century additions.

It is a Grade I listed building located at 167 and 169 King Street, now serving as Jurnet's Bar, named for the first owners. 

The Great Hospital

The Great Hospital - Credit: Google

The Great Hospital

This medieval hospital was originally built to give care to elderly priests, poor scholars, and paupers, all of who had no one to care for them.

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Opened in 1249, the building's lengthy archives have UNESCO's 'memory of the world' status, and the cloisters are said to be the smallest in England. It has since been made into residential flats, located on Bishopgate.

Strangers' Hall entrance. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Strangers' Hall entrance. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Strangers' Hall

While the oldest part of the building date back to the 1320s, it is thought that parts of the building, such as the Main Hall, were built in the 1400s.

The house was a prestigious dwelling for merchants and mayors, getting its name from the Dutch and Flemish 'strangers' who were refugees fleeing religious persecution and worked as weavers.

The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell (photo: Fisheye Images)

The Museum of Norwich - Credit: Fisheye images

Bridewell Museum 

This building began as a merchant's home in 1325 and became a prison for women and beggars in 1585. From the mid-1700s to 1828, it was a conventional prison and then became a factory, producing tobacco, leather, boots, and shoes. It is now a Grade I listed building and museum about Norwich in Bridewell Alley.

The National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich which is under development.
Picture: ANTON

Dragon Hall - Credit: Archant

Dragon Hall 

Starting as a public hall with private dwellings in the 14th century, the building was later a merchant's hall, with alterations occurring throughout the years following.

The building became shops, flats, and pubs. It is Grade I listed and is located on 115 to 123 King Street.

Pykerell's House

Pykerell's House - Credit: Google

Pykerells House 

Now named after three-time Norwich mayor, Thomas Pykerell, this building was built in the 1400s to be a public hall with private dwellings, originally called Pilgrim's Hall. It was gutted by a bomb in WW2 and was accurately restored in the 20th century.

It is located at 1 Rosemary Lane and is a Grade II listed building.

Manor House

Manor House - Credit: Google

Manor House 

This building was built in 1578 and was originally intended to be the house of the widow of a Norwich merchant.

The Jacobean house was restored accurately in the 19th century after being 'Georgianised' by previous owners. It is located on Bracondale and is a Grade II listed property. 

Dolphin Inn

Dolphin Inn - Credit: Google

Dolphin Inn 

This building was originally Bishop Hall's summer palace, built in 1587. There were additional 15th-century alterations, 20th century restorations after war damage, and 21st century repairs after fire damage.

The building later became an inn and gained its Grade II listing in 1954. It is located on 252 Heigham Street and is now being used as a chiropractic centre.

Augustine Steward's House 

Augustine Steward's House - Credit: Google

Augustine Steward's House 

Built in 1530, this was the home of Augustine Steward, who led negotiations during Kett's Rebellion.

It has been a Tudor merchant's townhouse, a butcher's, a bookshop, and in recent memory a cafe and an escape room.

It is located on Tombland and you can walk under the upper floor to see the other old houses.

Churchman House

Churchman House - Credit: Google

Churchman House 

As can be guessed from the name, this used to be a house.

Built in 1730, this Georgian building has 19th-century renovations. It is a Grade II listed property located on Bethel Street and operates as a walk-in centre for mental health services.

The outdoor seating at the Assembly House in Norwich.

The outdoor seating at the Assembly House in Norwich. - Credit: The Assembly House

The Assembly House 

In the 1200s, the site was occupied by a hospital dedicated to the Virgin Mary and then a college for secular priests. The building was partially demolished and sold in the 1540s. In 1753, the site was leased out for the creation of a 'House of Assemblies'.

It is a Grade I listed Georgian building located on Theatre Street.