Following her tour of Norwich’s undercrofts, Lucy takes a friend on a Hidden History Tour of Tombland.
Tickets provided in return for a review.
The Hidden History Tour of Tombland is a 90-minute amble around one of the oldest parts of Norwich. Guided by local historian Sarah, who also delivers the undercroft tour beneath KindaKafe, the tour provides lots of fascinating insights into Norwich life through the ages.
The tour begins outside Norwich Cathedral, where Sarah explains that ‘Tombland’ is a Danish word meaning ‘open space’ (debunking many local myths about tombs), while ‘gate’ means ‘market’.
While standing at Erpingham Gate, she also points out that two Roman roads were found in Norwich in the 1930s. One of the roads runs beneath Tombland Alley and was covered over after its initial discovery.
Sarah then leads groups around Cathedral Close, talking about the building of Norwich Cathedral and its history, including uprisings and riots. She also tells stories about murder and gruesome deaths (which I won’t ruin here).
Along the way, she also points out some plaques on buildings in the Tombland area. You may have noticed them yourself; they have a couple of letters on them and a date. These are boundary markers, showing where a parish ends and a new one begins.
Towards the end of the tour, Sarah pauses outside Shiki to point out a plaque. She tells the story of John Wheatley, a Methodist preacher and a somewhat controversial figure. After walking from Wales to Norwich, via Cornwall, in the 1700s, he was loved by some and hated by others, leading to some violent scenes on the streets of Norwich.
The Hidden History Tour of Tombland really brings the City’s history to life. You’ll love it, even if you only have the faintest interest in local history. Highly recommended!