A brief history of Norwich Castle

by | Mar 15, 2024

Today we thought we’d talk about one of our neighbours: Norwich Castle.

Built by the Normans in the 11th century, Norwich Castle helped to establish Norwich as a dominant city in England throughout the medieval period.

As you’d expect from any building that has stood for nearly 1,000 years, Norwich Castle has assumed a number of different roles. Those include a royal residence (that was never actually lived in by a royal), a prison, a sanctuary for fleeing Jews and, as is the case today, a museum.

In its capacity as a prison, the castle housed (and executed) several notable inmates, including Robert Kett and the murderer James Blomfield Rush. Indeed, you can still see Rush’s death mask in the castle’s museum today.

The castle was surrounded by a large, deep dry moat for most of its life. As Norwich continued to grow and land in the city became increasingly scarce, this moat was eventually inhabited. 

Entire streets, filled by shops and dwellings, were built in the long shadow of the castle. Including our Hidden Street! When we venture beneath Castle Meadow, we’re effectively returning to the original ground level of the moat.

Interested in seeing it for yourself? Head to our bookings page and check out our Hidden Street tour.