Palace Plain by the NAU in 1981 and described in an excellent article in CASO: it was still standing head high, and is now preserved beneath the Magistrate's Courts.
Another was found still standing, concealed in the core of the Music House on King Street
(described in the article on King Street).
Another eighteen 12th or 13th century houses are known from documents,
though this figure includes both the examples from the
Millennium site. The excavated building from St Martin-at-Palace Plain and the Music
House both illustrate how these stone houses were built - walls of flint rubble with Caen or
Barnack limestone quoins founded on rammed gravel footings. Were the ground floors used for shops or storage with accom-
modation on the first and possibly second floor?
A surprise discovery was a limekiln, set in the middle of the block, 50m south of Bethel
Street. This may be connected with the construction of the stone houses, though we cannot be sure as it is only roughly dated to between the late 12th and 14th century. This is the earliest limekiln to have been discovered in Norwich, as all the other examples from
Norfolk are post-medieval at the earliest. It is also of a very different construction,
consisting of a pit filled with interleaved chalk, oxidised lime and charcoal. Originally it probably also possessed an above ground component, some kind of airtight hood with inlets and outlets.
The high Middle Ages saw the heyday of the French Borough, when it became the wealthiest area of the city. However the
Millennium site was curiously detached from this story, and little development seems to have taken place on the Bethel Street frontage during the 13th and 14th centuries. The south and west of the site was walled off by a flint and mortar wall, and probably became part of the property of the Hospital of St Mary in the Fields, established in 1248 and which had became a secular college for clergy by the turn of the 14th century. The main buildings stood
Above left. A gilded late 74th or early 75th century brooch, found within a malting oven.
Above right. A medieval lime-kiln -
the only medieval lime-kiln known from
further to the south (and are in part incorpo-
rated into the 18th century Assembly House) but the area excavated appears to have been turned over to some kind of gardening activity - possibly an orchard.
The 15th and 16th centuries saw a renewal of intensive activity at the site, mainly surviving in the form of well and pit digging. Much of the evidence for structures from this period had been removed in the demolition of the area in 1961; because the later Medieval and Post-Medieval buildings were largely timber framed they rested on relatively insubstantial foundations, easily removed in the levelling of the area. After the dissolution and the demise of the Hospital of St Mary, vigorous pit digging also took place in the southern part of the site, mainly for quarrying of sands and gravels. Very significant amounts of Late medieval and Post-medieval pottery were recovered from the excavations of the various pit and well infills.
Norwich generally, and this parish in particular, became home to immigrants from the Low Countries during the Reformation; they were locally known as the Strangers. Many of these people were employed in the cloth trade and evidence for this was recov-
ered in the form of stone and timber lined pits used as tanks and from a cellar floor containing the macrofossil remains of plants used in the dying process.
In summary, the project was the first major site to be excavated in the French Borough. The evidence for Anglo- Viking activity was unexpected, and the establishment of a French
Borough on virgin ground in the middle of the 11th century has shown that the postconquest urban growth was rather more complex than is readily apparent from cartographic and documentary sources.
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