The Great Hall was the heart of the medieval and Tudor home, a communal space used for everyday activities from eating and sleeping to hosting city ceremonies and events. Leading citizens like the owners of Strangers’ Hall were expected to entertain lavishly, demonstrating their wealth through the use of fine tableware including plates, pewter, glassware and linens.
There’s been a substantial building on this plot since at least the 13th century, over the years, smaller and more private rooms were added around the Hall, extending the size of the house. The Great Hall was likely built in the 15th century, when William Barley, a cloth merchant lived here.
The Sotherton family made further improvements in the 16th century, installing the crown post roof and stone-mullioned bay window. Francis Cock, a grocer, installed the magnificent staircase and the window that lights it in 1627 – the year he became Mayor of Norwich.
A door leads directly from the Great Hall to the beautiful garden which is maintained by the Friends of the Norwich Museums. The Friends have developed beds of old fashioned roses, a small ‘knot garden’ which is best viewed from the top windows of the house, and a selection of plants with medicinal, culinary and textile-related uses.
We invite you to spend some time in the garden, a real oasis of calm in the middle of a bustling city.