Search

Tunnels project is shedding new light on town’s medieval heritage

Archaeology student Jake Brader has been uncovering some of the mysteries hidden beneath the streets of North Walsham's town centre. Picture: Jake Brader

Archaeology student Jake Brader has been uncovering some of the mysteries hidden beneath the streets of North Walsham's town centre. Picture: Jake Brader

Archant

The hidden history of a north Norfolk town is being uncovered through a student’s project.

An archive photo of North Walsham's Market Place from 1985. Jake Brader, from the town, has been looking into North Walsham's hidden history. Picture: Archant LibraryAn archive photo of North Walsham's Market Place from 1985. Jake Brader, from the town, has been looking into North Walsham's hidden history. Picture: Archant Library

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.

St Nicholas Church with its ruined tower in North Walsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSt Nicholas Church with its ruined tower in North Walsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

'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'.

A Middle Ages festival commemorating the The Battle of North Walsham in 1381 will take place later this year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA Middle Ages festival commemorating the The Battle of North Walsham in 1381 will take place later this year. From left, Rob Scannell, Bob Wright, Barry Hester, Canon Paul Cubitt, Ian Pycroft, Molly Housego, and Robert Murphy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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.

You may also want to watch:

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.'


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Norfolk News. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the North Norfolk News