Skip to content

You are here: Home > Old Norwich > Markets

Old Norwich - Markets

A view of the old Norwich market with Guildhall Hill in the background

Norwich lies at the centre of a great agricultural area, and thus for many centuries it has been an important market town. The Saxon market was situated in Tombland, but after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a new market was established in the area known as 'Mancroft'.

By 1300 the main market in Mancroft stretched from Guildhall Hill almost to St Stephen's Church. Vegetables, fish, meat, bread, cloth, shoes, livestock and many other commodities were each sold in their proper place. A small area was kept for the use of smallholders who brought in produce from the county for sale on market days.

By the late seventeenth century the market was becoming so congested that a new site for livestock sales had to be found, and in 1738 the livestock market was moved to the 'castell dykes', below the castle mound. There it remained until 1960, when it was transferred to Harford Bridge.

The main market continued to flourish. At one end stood the meat and fish markets, separated by buildings from the rest of the area where not only vegetables, but also 'cloth, hats, shoes, stockings, rope, books, etc. were sold.

In the 1930s the whole market was remodelled to accommodate the City Hall, it was opened in 1938.

Also by the Market Place is the Guildhall, with its fine chequered flint work. This was built between 1407 and 1413 after the Charter of 1404 was granted to Norwich, allowing it a mayor and two sheriffs. Used for civic and judicial functions for five hundred years, the Guildhall became the city's Tourist Information Centre in 1986.

Norwich Market is unique in Britain. It boasts over 190 stalls and is the largest Monday-to-Saturday open market in the country.

The market has been refurbished a number of times through the years with the latest refurbishment (by LSI Architects) was completed in 2006.

Stalls cover everything from fruit and veg to second hand records, books, clothes, refreshments, specialist hair care products, wool...the list is long.

Norwich City Council provide a document listing details of the current stalls called the Norwich Market Stall Finder (PDF)

Why not visit the BBC's Norwich Market webcam page.


Did you know... Norwich's 'Mancroft' market can be traced back as far as the Norman Conquest.