Above Thisoystershell was used as a painter's pallet in decorating the church. Oabsof pigment still survive vermilion (red),azurite (blue), and calcium carbonate (white).
Below. This 'page holder~ which bears the arms of its owner, is a medieval forerunner of a bulldog clip and would have been used in the library.
Archaeological evidence has revealed that, with growing popularity among affluent members of the secular community, the friars enjoyed a life of increasing comfort and sophistication in contravention of their mendicant ideal. Expansion of their Norwich site was just one of the consequences of their emerging status and fashionableness within the local community and these were reflected by gifts, wills and requests for burial, particu-
larly from minor gentry.
One archaeological find, a fine silver brooch, provided a snapshot view of the affluence of the extended community of the
Norwich Greyfriars. Was this item lost by a well-heeled visitor to the friary, keen to project a pious image (its Lombardic inscription reads IESVS:NAZARENVS:REXIVDEO -
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews), or was it, more controversially, worn by a friar in defiance of the oath of poverty - like Chaucer's prioress?
. The Friary Church
Although no part of the church occurred within the area of excavation, the outline can be reconstructed thanks to William of
Worcester, who in the late 15th century paced up and down friary churches all over the country. From his measurements of the Norwich church in 1479, it has been possible to arrive at the following dimensions: an aisled nave 105 ft long and 56 ft wide; an aisled choir also 105 ft long and potentially of the same width as that of the nave, and finally a walking space 42 ft long and 56 ft wide. The unusually large space beneath the tower may indicate that it contained chapels, such as that of St Mary. Although the church itself was not found, some indication of how it was decorated was nevertheless provided. An oyster shell, found in an infilled quarry pit to the south of the church, may have been a painter's palette. It contains dabs of vermilion and, notably, azurite, a pigment that was then more precious than gold. Both of these materials were used extensively in the paint-
ings, of circa 1300, in the Ante-reliquary Chapel of Norwich Cathedral. As the friary is unlikely to have had an elaborate scheme of wall-paintings it is more probable that the palette was used for painting sculpture. There were also a number of painted window glass fragments including parts of a crucifixion scene that would have had a border,
comprising running vine leaf and lion masks.
. Library and Studium
The cloisters, of which the western part was investigated, would have included a schoolroom and a library. In 1336 the Franciscan house at Norwich became one of the order's seven friaries in England estab-
lished as studia for the teaching of theology at pre-university level. The library must have been extensive to support a studium, and a number of book fittings were found which reflect this function.
One particular artefact offers a tantalising hint at the identity of one of the individuals that studied here. It is a copper alloy pageholder, a rather elegant, medieval forerunner of the bulldog clip! It was recovered from the south-east corner of the claustral complex. The three chevrons (not pictured) probably represent the family of Clare and the quartered device on the other side seems to represent the arms of Despenser, a family with strong dynastic links with the Clares in the 14th century. The studium appears to have flourished, for a number of friars came from overseas to study - individuals are documented from as far away as Italy, Westphalia, Austria and Saxony.
Unlike monasteries, the friars had no extensive endowments of property bringing in a regular rent. By the Dissolution, therefore, the Norwich house, like some other
Franciscan friaries, had assured a small