The North and the South of it

At Norwich, in Norfolk, in many of the churches but especially the cathedral, the earlier, southern, style of Romanesque architecture (aka Byzantine) competes with the later, finer, often spectacular northern Gothic for the visitor’s eye.

Norwich Cathedral, stained glass windows and gothic vaultins

Attenuated columns, delicate fan-vaulting, stained glass windows set in perpendicular tracings, all typical of the English take on Gothic architecture. It so bedazzles the visitor’s eyes, the rest goes unnoticed. Photo 8th Nov 2017

Norwich Cathedral Romanesque arches

But take a step back, in space and in time . . . those arches are undeniably Romanesque. Photo 8th Nov 2017

Norwich Cathedral South Entrance

As for this, the south entrance (beside the cloisters) could have been lifted from Southern Italy. I’ve found those same carved motifs on several of the parish churches southeast of Norwich. Photo 8th Nov 2017

Norwich Cathedral view from cloisters

A view only possible from within the cloisters . . . no delicate traceries, no flying buttresses, all solid Romanesque architecture—except for the pinnacles that stand guard on the Gothic-style spire. Photo 8th Nov 2017. And yep, it was a typical November day: wet!

Norwich was my home-town, I grew up in the shadow of this. Which might explain my almost-obsession with the Norman period of history. But it’s a fallacy to believe the Normans introduced the style, just because only their buildings remain; the English (Anglo-Saxons) were erecting abbeys in the Romanesque style for at least half a century before then.

About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
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4 Responses to The North and the South of it

  1. Brian Bixby says:

    That last view is especially familiar. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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