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St Andrew's Parish, Norwich
St Andrew's Street
St Andrew's Hall
St Andrew's Church
St Andrew's Workhouse
Duke of Norfolk's Palace Strangers Hall Trade and Industry Crime and Punishment Church and State Personal Recollections
In 1922 the late Leonard Bolingbroke, grandson of the Norwich artist James Stark, presented Strangers' Hall to the City. A medieval town house, the hall had been turned into a private museum with rooms furnished in period style. The styles ranged from 16th to 19th centuries and housed various exhibits including a collection of antique toys.
Strangers' Hall stands on Charing Cross in St. Andrew's, just off the junction with the Maddermarket. Built around two courtyards, the hall stands on an undercroft (arched vaults) dating from 1320AD. One of the hall's most well-known features is the crown-post roof added by its owner, Nicholas Sotherton in 1525. A wealthy grocer, Sotherton became the Sheriff of Norwich in 1530 and Mayor in 1539. In the main hall stands a wooden screen on which are carved several coats-of-arms and seals, including his own, the Grocers' Arms. Various merchants and noblemen owned the building, each remodelling it to his own tastes. By 1621, another grocer, Francis Cock acquired Strangers' Hall. He too became Sheriff in 1615 and Mayor in 1627. It was Francis Cock who had the wooden staircase and bay window added that now covets admiration from all visitors to the hall. Since 1668, there has been very little alteration made to the structure.
Betwen 1797 and 1880, a group of Roman Catholic priests resided in the hall, letting out part of the building to lodgers. This included Mazzotti, the Italian sculptor who had his studio there in 1819.
The name, Strangers' Hall, is said to have derived from the Flemmish immigrants who arrived in England during the 15th century. They were said to have lodged there thus giving the building its name. In truth, there is no evidence for this and the meaning of the name remains a mystery.