New trail to reveal the hidden history of six Norwich pubs

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers, and Carrie-Anne Elsden, HEART's Heritage Open Days project a

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers, and Carrie-Anne Elsden, HEART's Heritage Open Days project assistant, toast the launch of the Historic Pubs Trail. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

With secret rooms and many hidden stories, Norwich's pubs are steeped in history. And half a dozen Fine City taverns hope to bring this heritage to the fore as part of a historic pub trail.

The Adam and Eve.

The Adam and Eve. - Credit: Archant

The trail, consisting of six City of Ale pubs, extends from Timberhill in the city centre through to Bishops Bridge on the Riverside Walk.

It includes The Murderers, The Sir Garnet, The Wild Man, The Maids Head Bar, The Adam & Eve, and lastly Lollards Pit:

The Adam and Eve

Lollards Pit.

Lollards Pit. - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

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• The Adam and Eve, in Bishopgate, is the oldest pub in Norwich.

• Its recorded history begins in 1249, when people working to build the cathedral workers were paid for their labour in bread and ale.

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• There will be information on the history of brewing on display during the historic pub trail.

• This will be from 11am to 11pm next Thursday, September 11, Friday and Saturday, and from midday to 10.30pm on Sunday.

The Maids Head Hotel.

The Maids Head Hotel.

Lollards Pit

• Lollards Pit, in Riverside Road, is built on a Middle Ages execution site.

• In the 15th and 16th centuries, people were burned to death for their religious beliefs by the Lollards.

The Murderers Pub.

The Murderers Pub. - Credit: Archant © 2012

• The Lollards were an anti-clerical group that believed the church was corrupt in many ways.

• Although little trace remains of the executions that took place there, the pub is to open some areas usually closed to the public for the historic pub trail – including the jail cell in the cellar downstairs.

The Maids Head Hotel

The Sir Garnet.

The Sir Garnet. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013

• The Maids Head Hotel, in Tombland, is believed to be the oldest Norman site in the city after the castle.

• It was built on the site of a house owned by the early Norman bishops, and it was this house that became a guest house for visitors to the cathedral.

• This eventually became the Murtel Fish or Molde Fish Tavern, the predecessor of The Maids Head, and was first mentioned in Norwich records in 1287. • John Paston recommended the Maids Head as good place to stable a horse in a letter dated November 2, 1472, confirming the change of name.

• Elizabeth McDonald of the UEA will give a lecture about the Paston family, who once lived near this famous inn, at 11am on Thursday, September 11.

The Wild Man Pub.

The Wild Man Pub. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

The Murderers

• The Murderers, in Timberhill, dates back to 1530.

• There is a copy of the marriage certificate of Mildred Wilby – the daughter of a former landlady - and Frank Miles on the wall, alongside a picture of a public hanging and a hammer similar to the weapon used in the 1895 murder.

• Talks about the pub and former landlords will run at midday on Friday, September 12, Saturday and Sunday of the historic pub trail. Allow up to 30 minutes.

The Sir Garnet

• The Sir Garnet, in Market Place, was originally know as the Baron of Beef when it started trading in about 1861.

• It became the Sir Garnet Wolseley in 1874, named after Field Marshal Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley.

• The pub will welcome guests into some of its secret rooms to discover more about its history as part of the trail.

The Wild Man

• The Wild Man, in Bedford Street, has been trading since the 18th century.

• It takes its name from Peter the Wild Boy, a feral child who was for a time locked up in the Bridewell nearby.

• He had been discovered living in a German forest, and died in 1785 aged 73.

• He had worked on farms after his time in captivity.

People will be able to learn how The Murderers got its gruesome name, and get a glimpse of the Norwich's brewing industry over the centuries at a series of talks and exhibitions.

The trail has been organised by Norwich's Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) and Norwich City of Ale.

Jo Archer, project monitoring officer of HEART, said: 'This set of public houses in Norwich form a fascinating glimpse into the heritage of our city.

'All these sites are interesting buildings with stories to tell from the distant to the more recent past.'

Dawn Leeder, City of Ale co-chairman, said: 'We're delighted that these six historic pubs have been specially selected to be a part of HEART's Heritage Open Days and we hope everyone will toast this important event's continuing success in this special anniversary year. Cheers!'

The trail marks the 10th year that HEART has co-orginated Heritage Open Days in Norwich, and the 20th anniversary of the nationwide free heritage event.

It will run in conjunction with the Heritage Open Days festival, which takes place between Thursday, September 11 and Sunday, September 14.

Pubs will hold special events to commemorate their individual rich heritage, including talks, exhibitions and access to areas not normally open to the public.

• Pub trail leaflets are available from The Guildhall in Norwich city centre and to view or download online at

• Do you have a Norwich pub story? Email reporter Sam Russell at

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