'Fun and eccentric' - The story behind one of Norwich's most unique homes
PUBLISHED: 07:15 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:34 02 August 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Built on the foundations of Norwich's medieval walls and adorned with statues, Martin Wyatt's house is one of the city's more unusual properties.
Until 1971, it was the home of the popular Dun Cow pub, but today it is better known for its "ornate and eccentric" external decorations.
More than 20 sculptures are embedded within the walls of his Oak Street house - including a small Buddha whose belly people rub as they walk past.
In his back garden is a large wicker structure in the shape of a castle, and in another corner is the remains of a medieval turret.
But it is not just Mr Wyatt's home that has an interesting past.
The 72-year-old is the director of the city's Head in the Clouds shop on Pottergate - a business he claims is Europe's oldest 'head shop'.
Speaking about his house, Mr Wyatt said: "I got the idea for the sculptures while visiting Venice and seeing all their ornamental walls.
"It's supposed to be ornate, fun and eccentric. The brick work at the back says 'enjoy life' because I always try to have a positive attitude towards life."
The site of Mr Wyatt's home is built on the foundations of St Martin's Gate, which once served as part of the city's defences.
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According to Norwich City Council, the gateway was demolished 1808.
Mr Wyatt said part of the city's medieval wall still runs through the cellar of his property, while the remains of one of the towers stands in his garden.
Prior to becoming a house, the building was home to the Dun Cow pub, which dates back to 1795.
The premises closed in 1971 and Mr Wyatt later moved in.
He said his collection of statues, which include classical figures of women, teddy bears and angels, came from demolition yards and garden centres.
They were installed into the flint and brickwork of a extension to his house in 1997.
"It is a house of character, of joy and of love," he said.
Mr Wyatt, who has founded local choirs and orchestras, still runs his Head in the Clouds business, which he set up in 1971.
Head shops emerged from the hippie counterculture in the late 1960s and sell various items including paraphernalia used for cannabis and tobacco consumption.
Mr Wyatt said: "I was hippy back then [when I founded the shop]. It just goes to show that hippies can be businessmen as well."