4 unusual Norwich gifts for the person who has everything

Medieval stone lion found in Thetford and now in Norwich Castle Museum

The Thetford lion. - Credit: Picture: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Do you know someone who would like a lion for Christmas? Or a medieval gaming piece, a great work of art or even a bollock sword? Norwich Castle's Adopt an Object scheme has the ideal gifts for everyone from the tricky-to-buy-for to history lovers - and at least one which is absolutely perfect for history lovers with a sense of humour.

Five objects up for adoption are a charming carved stone lion from St Mary’s Priory in Thetford, a stunning altarpiece painted for a wealthy Ashwellthorpe man around 1520, a medieval gaming piece, the seal from a message, known as a Papal Bulla, sent from the Pope in Rome in the 14th century and discovered in Roughton near Cromer, and the treasure chest from St Margaret’s church, Norwich. 

Painting of the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary

The exquisite Ashwellthorpe Altarpiece, showing 'the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary,' was painted around 1520 - Credit: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery/John Hammond

Adoption prices start at £25 with some objects sponsored by just one adopter while others are shared between several. All the money raised will support the Royal Palace Reborn project to restore the Castle Keep to its heyday as a Norman royal palace. Every adoption includes tickets to visit the Castle plus a digital image of the object and certificate of adoption, a mention on the Castle's Adopt an Object website. All the adopted objects will be on display in the keep when it reopens. 

Treasures up for adoption include statues, gold coins, jewellery, weapons, a beautifully decorated bowl used for handwashing, a gold and garnet ring, and the famous bollock dagger – a small weapon designed both for battle and to use as a knife.

Norwich Castle's bollock dagger

Do you know someone who would appreciate this bollock dagger as a Christmas gift? - Credit: Picture: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

So whether you are looking for an unusual Christmas present or a literally historic gift there should be something to suit most tastes. 


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For dog lovers – a tile made in the 1400s and decorated with a picture of a dog. 

For food lovers – a stained-glass roundel made in Norwich in the early 16th century and showing a feast fit for a king. 

A winter feast shown in a medieval roundel

Stained Glass Roundel showing a winter feast - Credit: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

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For travellers – a pilgrim badge bought by someone who had visited the shrine of Norwich priest and poet Richard Caister. His saintly reputation inspired thousands to visit his tomb in St Stephen’s church, Norwich, after his death in 1420. This badge was found at the Globe Theatre in London.  

For wine lovers – a wine jug with lips shaped like a parrot’s beak, made in France in the 13th or 14th century and found in Welborne, near Mattishall.  

For healthcare workers - a 500-year-old statue of St Anthony the Great who was believed to guard against illness.  

For lovers or newlyweds – a 500-year-old wedding ring found in a Thetford nunnery. 

For crafters – a 12th century needlework bobbin with carved heads at either end.  

To adopt a medieval object from Norwich Castle visit www.adoptanobject.co.uk 

Art for Christmas 

New this Christmas, prints of almost 200 artworks from museums in Norwich, Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford can be bought from the ArtUK website with up to half the proceeds going to Norfolk Museums Service. There are currently 171 works of art available, with more to be added, which can be bought framed or unframed.

To buy a print of a work of art cared for by Norfolk Museums Service visit https://artuk.org



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