Just another museum?
Norwich Cathedral’s architecture is justly famous, its history fascinating and its collection of art and objects outstanding. The building certainly deserves its five-star rating as a tourist attraction, but this is no museum. It is a living centre for worship, welcome and learning.
Sometimes visitors to the Cathedral express surprise, occasionally annoyance, that services are being held; they thought they were coming to some historic monument in the hands of English Heritage or the National Trust.
Highlights of this section
Norwich Cathedral has a long and colourful history. This section gives you a wealth of information, including the following.
- When and why the Cathedral was built
- Key events in its 900 year history
- People who have played an important role
- Recent discoveries made about the past while building the new Refectory and Hostry
- An interactive timeline which enables you to see developments at the Cathedral in their historical context,
- An architecture section which puts the Cathedral and Close in their architectural context
- An archaeology section showing you how remnants of buildings from our past teach us about the lives of our predecessors but are still part of today’s Cathedral and Close.
- A conservation section taking you behind the scenes and demonstrating how traditional skills are still used to maintain the fabric of the Cathedral and Close
- The Cathedral's beautiful art and collections, both old and new
To explain some of the technical terms used, we have prepared a glossary which can be reached from the footer on every page.
A living place
Please do not think of the Cathedral as another historic monument, a sterile building full of beautiful things. This is a living place. The building itself, and all the beautiful art and objects it houses, are here for a purpose; that purpose is as valid today as it was in 1096 - to inspire people to glorify God and to build a bridge between God and his people. The Cathedral does not just look back, it looks forward too. That is why we commission new works of art like the Millennium Window in the north Transept and why we build new buildings like the Refectory and the Hostry.
Norwich Cathedral is part of England’s history, and its fabric and contents constitute fine art. However its essence is its spiritual power. To admire the Cathedral simply for its history or its beauty is like admiring a picture just for its frame.