Westminster Abbey archaeologist backs campaign to save Anglia Square church

Barn in Norwich which may contain remains of St Olave's Church

The barn and retaining wall which is believed to include the medieval remains of St Olave's Church - Credit: Mark Wilson

A campaign to save what experts believe are the remains of a medieval Norwich church have been backed by  a leading archaeologist based at Westminster Abbey.

Several heritage experts are backing the campaign to get a warehouse - which would be demolished in the multi-million pound revamp of Anglia Square - listed to protect it from the wrecking ball.

Experts believe unusual coursed flintwork on the Botolph Street building was once part of the wall of the medieval church of St Olave's - dedicated to the 11th century Norwegian king St Olaf.

Flint warehouse in Norwich

Experts believe the remains of St Olave's Church are within the wall of this warehouse near Anglia Square - Credit: Mark Wilson

Campaigners SAVE Britain's Heritage and Norwich Historic Churches Trust have asked Historic England to list the building, which would protect it from demolition.

And the campaign has been backed by academic and author Professor Warwick Rodwell, consultant archaeologist at Westminster Abbey.

Prof Rodwell said: “In the light of the new information, I have no hesitation in urging that it be listed, and any proposal to demolish it should be vigorously rebutted.

“It would be a dereliction of duty by the local planning authority to grant any form of development consent on this site without first securing firm archaeological evidence for the precise location and plan of the church, and the extent of its graveyard.

"In a city as historically important as Norwich, archaeology must always be embraced as a 'material consideration' in planning matters.”

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Dr Amanda Bevan, head of legal records at the National Archives, working in a personal capacity, compiled a detailed dossier after examining historical records.

She said: "This building and the historic churchyard plot are of great interest and significance to the city. The site is a demonstration of the huge changes that have taken place over the last 500 years. Its adaptation and survival amid all of this is remarkable.”

Historic England is considering the listing application, with a decision expected soon.

Anglia Square concept plans

Concept art for the Anglia Square revelopment - Credit: Weston Homes

Norwich City Council's planning committee is due to make a decision on the Anglia Square plans in the autumn.

Developer Weston Homes, yet to comment on the St Olave's campaign, is seeking permission for up to 1,100 homes on the site, along with commercial and retail space.