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Free exhibition offers chance to learn about city’s lost churches

PUBLISHED: 15:37 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 04 August 2017

Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Dr Clare Haynes, senior research associate at UEA, with an oil painting of St Michael Coslany by Gerard Stamp. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Dr Clare Haynes, senior research associate at UEA, with an oil painting of St Michael Coslany by Gerard Stamp. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

Norwich is famous for its medieval churches but how much do we actually know about their history and the ones that have been lost?

Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Pencil drawing of St Michael Coslany by John Kirkpatrick. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Pencil drawing of St Michael Coslany by John Kirkpatrick. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Now the answers to these questions can be found at a free exhibition, exploring the visual records of Norwich churches from the last 300 years, at the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich. Drawings from artists, archaeologists and antiquarians offer an insight into the appearance and history of the city’s medieval churches from 1700 to modern day.

Dr Clare Haynes said: “We are preparing for an exhibition about the churches of Norwich and the way they have been drawn over the past 300 years.

“Norwich is remarkable for many things but one thing it is famous for is its 31 medieval churches within the city walls.

“Norwich once had 58 churches so this exhibition is celebrating how people have looked at these wonderful ancient buildings.”

Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Detail of an oil painting of St Michael Coslany by Gerard Stamp. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Detail of an oil painting of St Michael Coslany by Gerard Stamp. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The display shows different interpretations of the iconic buildings through the eyes of people drawing and studying them from the last 300 years.

The exhibition is the result of research by the Norwich Medieval Churches: City, Community and Architecture project at the University of East Anglia.

“Among the themes we are exploring is the lost churches,” Dr Haynes added. “Some of them we have nothing left of but some of the drawings in the exhibition can tell us some of the things we didn’t know about them.

“As an historian I’m a bit like a detective and the more difficult the story is to find out about the more intriguing it can be. I’m delighted we have been able to find so many things that we have been able to find about the lost buildings.”

Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Stained glass by CJW Winter. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Norfolk Record Office exhibition of Norwich churches. Stained glass by CJW Winter. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The drawings and paintings on display come from the collections of Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk County Council’s Record office and private individuals.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “This is a unique opportunity to view Norwich’s past through the eyes of many different artists. Some of our city’s churches have been lost forever, but these visual records provide an interesting insight into how they looked and what people thought of them.”

The display is from August 21 to November 17 at the Norfolk Record Office on the County Hall site in Martineau Lane.

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