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Historic talk at Norwich's Dragon Hall

PUBLISHED: 12:17 19 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:50 02 July 2010

Dragon Hall.

Dragon Hall.

Mary Hamilton

An illustrated talk at Dragon Hall, in Norwich, will delve into the history of 'the Richard Branson of the medieval age' who founded the historic building.

An illustrated talk at Dragon Hall, in Norwich, will delve into the history of “the Richard Branson of the medieval age” who founded the historic building.

Robert Toppes was the sole owner of a multinational trading organisation, trading worsted cloth for spices, wine and fine clothing along with mundane goods.

He founded Dragon Hall in King Street in 1427 and it became a bustling trade hub in the city centre, designed as a working building with an imposing and impressive trading floor along with warehouse and working space below stairs.

When Toppes died in 1467, instead of bequeathing Dragon Hall to his widow and seven children, he ordered the building be sold off to pay for priests to pray for his soul, and his business was allowed to die with him.

Toppes also paid for a stained glass window in the north chapel of St Peter Mancroft church, and left money to other churches in Norwich and Norfolk - many in cloth-producing parishes.

An illustrated talk by Vic Morgan delves into Toppes' religious world, looking at his careful preparations for the afterlife and the impact of his religious beliefs on the history of Norwich.

The talk takes place on April 28 at 7.30pm at Dragon Hall. Tickets cost £5 or £4 for Norfolk and Norwich Heritage Trust members.

For more information visit www.dragonhall.org or call 01603 663922.

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