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Collection Summary

Collection Title
Archaeological brick and tile collection
Collection of brick and tile from the Romano-British, medieval and post-medieval periods from sites all over Norfolk. These objects have formed part of the Norwich Castle Museum Archaeology collection since the earliest days of the museum and some of the tiles were collected as much for their aesthetic value as their historical and archaeological value. The Romano-British element of the collection includes mosaic tesserae, imbrex (ridge) and tegula (flat) roof tiles, floor tiles and flue tiles and bricks from forts, villas and towns. Glazed floor tiles made at Bawsey tile kiln form a large part of the medieval component and have come from sites all over west Norfolk, other medieval floor tiles have mostly been found at churches, priories and other sites of religious foundation. The collection of course features standard bricks from various archaeological sites and brick kilns around the county, such as wall bricks, unfired bricks, chamfered bricks and inscribed bricks. The post medieval period is represented by some Flemish and Delft tiles and a collection of 16th century moulded brick and terracotta for the construction fo a tomb, from Arminghall.

The collection features archives of brick and tile from the larger excavations within the county, including the Roman forts at Brancaster and Caister on Sea; the Romano-British sites at Brampton and Caistor St Edmund; Baconsthorpe, Castle Acre and Castle Rising Castles; a large archive from the Castle Mall excavation in Norwich; several medieval sites within Norwich and King's Lynn excavated by the Norwich Survey and King's Lynn Survey respectively; All Saints Church at Barton Bendish and North Elmham Park. A proportion of the archive is simply described as ceramic building material.

The collection is complemented by medieval and post-medieval tiles from the Gressenhall brick collection, which features bricks preserving straw impressions, bricks from demolished buildings and hexagonal and irregular shaped bricks
  • 650 individual artefacts and over 800 boxes of site archive material
Star Item(s)
tile with impression of dog's paw from Caistor St Edmund
Roman brick and tile, medieval glazed floor tiles from religious foundations
Date range of collection
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
general interest,research
Associated People or Organisations
Associated Places
Viewing the collection
Most of the collection is not on display and can be viewed by appointment, telephone the Access Officer on 01603 493640

Location Details

Norwich Castle Museum And Art Gallery
Castle Meadow Norwich NR1 3JU United Kingdom
Open Map
+44 (0)1603 493625
+44 (0)1603 493623 
Building Information
Norwich Castle Museum, as its name suggests, is housed in the keep of the former Norman Castle which became a Victorian prison. Galleries were added to the keep in the 1890s when the building was converted into a museum. The Museum sits atop the Castle Mound, dominating the Norwich skyline and is reached by a medieval bridge or via a lift from the Castle gardens. Visitors can ascend to the battlements for a guided tour taking in a panoramic view of the city, and descend to the former dungeons. Adjoining the Castle Museum is the Shirehall Study Centre (former courthouse). Here, by appointment, collections can be explored in more depth and objects which are not on display can be visited.
Collections Overview
Norwich Castle, built by the Normans as a Royal Palace, was used as a prison from the 14th century and became Norfolk’s main museum in 1894. It has designated collections of fine and decorative art, archaeology and natural history and includes the best collections of paintings by the Norwich School of Artists and the world's largest collection of ceramic teapots. Search Norfolk Museums database and NOAH (Norfolk Online Access to Heritage) can be searched on-line for libraries, museums and record office. Currently, this includes the entire library catalogue, over 200,000 museum objects, about 16,000 digitised photographs, the index to over 23,000 local newspaper articles and over 63,000 archive records. For Stanger's Hall see Social History.
Display Overview
The Castle Keep has elaborate carvings in the stonework of the entrance, garderobes, fighting gallery, spiral stone staircase. Visitors can explore life in the Norman keep by touch screens, computer animation and a giant model of the keep. There are displays of when it was a prison with original graffiti. The keep also has displays of Norwich Silver, Norwich Civic Regalia, a re-creation of a medieval street scene, models of when it was being built and hands-on exhibits. There is an Anglo-Saxon and Viking Gallery, including a reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon grave site and a collection of jewellery; a Boudica Gallery with displays of Iceni treasure including gold torcs and a re-creation of an Iceni chariot; the Egyptian Gallery has an Egyptian tomb with mummies. The Fitch Room contains an eclectic collection of objects from the Ethnographic, Decorative Art and Archaeological collections, housed in Victorian wooden cabinets. The Art Galleries show 17th - 20th century paintings on show English watercolours, Dutch landscapes and modern British paintings including Norwich School artists. Look at Lowestoft porcelain, glass and English silver and Twinings Teapot Gallery with ceramic teapots. The Natural History Galleries are a favourite with families and include mounted birds and mammals and dioramas of Norfolk bird habitats.
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Accrual Status
accrual policy : passive, accrual method : deposit & purchase, accrual periodicity : irregular
Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
  • PhysicalObject.
  • Museum.
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
  • Super Collection: Archaeology Collection

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