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Thomas Erpingham's coat of arms is everywhere if you look

Location: St Andrew's Hall (facing the front doors), St Andrew's Plain, Norwich, NR3 1AU

Map showing location of St Andrew's Hall

Thomas Erpingham was a rich Norwich resident. He donated money to several building projects during his lifetime. His coat of arms, eight birds on a green background, appears throughout the city, marking his involvement in Norwich’s medieval architecture.

Listen to the poem

Read the poem

A soldier with vast lands by the river
marches through Norwich, putting his stamp
on everything. He builds a gate to the cathedral 

where one day he will be buried. As he has no children, 
the gate keeps his memory alive; three hundred years
after his death, a statue with his face appears at the top. 

Piety and progress are his two favourite things. 
When a fire destroys the friary he pays, 
rebuilds a church that will stand into the next millennium.

Because his arms are green and birdy,
they’re always pointed up. To spot them 
near the ground would be to misunderstand

the footless flight of the martlet birds that cover
the green or stone flags. On the wing, moving forward, 
a stretch to the tower, to the sky, to the future, 

their wings folded in picture but open in feeling, 
an onwards and upwards and richwards path
to the top. Look.

Follow the trail

Go to the Norwich Cathedral cloisters for poem 12: In the Cathedral, after dark