Tunnels project is shedding new light on town’s medieval heritage
The hidden history of a north Norfolk town is being uncovered through a student’s project.
Jake Brader, 22, has found architectural features including pointed, Gothic archways in his exploration of the cellars beneath North Walsham's town centre.
Mr Brader, who is studying archaeology at Sheffield University, said he had explored around 20 cellars underneath shops in the town's Market Street and Market Place, and had been surprised at how much heritage he had encountered.
He said: 'Some of the cellars are older than what was previously believed.
'Most of the town was lost in about 1600 but some of the cellars survived and were incorporated into later architecture.
'There have been some Gothic archways, which are pointed at the top - that's been quite a significant discovery as it's a style that's assumed to be medieval.
'I've also come across some flint and mortar being used rather than brick.
'If they are medieval, it would make them about the same age as the church and they would be among the town's oldest structures.'
Mr Brader said he was working with the North Walsham Heritage Group and shop owners on the project, and he has titled a report he is preparing about his findings 'A Tale of Tunnels'.
He said a goal of the project, which has been underway for about two months, was to get people more interested in local history.
The town's parish church, St Nicholas, was built in the 1300s. The town suffered a devastating fire in the year 1600 which destroyed 118 houses and 70 shops.
A pivotal event in the town's history was the 1381 Battle of North Walsham, when a large group of rebellious peasants were confronted by the heavily armed forces of the Bishop of Norwich. Henry le Despenser.
The battle will be commemorated at a new mediaeval festival being planned for the town, to take place over the July 17-19 weekend.
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Mr Brader added: 'I am excited to publish what has so far been discovered and even more so for things to come.
'I must give thanks to the heritage group for their support, with particular thanks to Bob Wright for his backing.'
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