St. Giles is referred to in Domesday Book (1086). After the Norman conquest it was one of the three large parishes forming the French Borough, the richest part of Norwich. Its 120 foot tower is not only the tallest in Norwich, but rises from the highest ground.
The building as it is now was built around 1400, when the perpendicular style was first introduced in Norwich. The church is made of knapped flints, apart from the ashlar faced south porch, which was added in the 16th century, and ashlar decoration on the buttresses. The tower which dominates the city was a beacon tower, (the iron basket for the fire is still on view inside) and contains a peal of eight bells, the earliest dating from 1430. The decorative iron fence round the churchyard is famous for its wisteria in spring.
The sense of height and space in the nave is accentuated by the tall slender piers which support high rising arches, above which are clerestorey windows. Two great arches into the chancel and into the tower space correspond to them. The original chancel was demolished in 1581, and the present chancel, in decorated style, dates from 1866. The carved angels in the fine hammer-beam roof which covers the nave hold the shields of England and France.
The noble porch is of two storeys. Above the fan vaulted ceiling, unique in Norwich, is a small room, the parvise, which was originally a chapel to St. Christopher.
On the ends of the pews five mace stands remain from past mayors of the city resident in the parish, with their coats of arms. There are brasses on the nave floor to Robert Baxter (1424) and Richard Purdaunce (1436)
Many of the still existing houses in St Giles Street were the homes of prosperous doctors, to whom there are wall monuments; that to Thomas Churchman and the rococo asymmetrical memorial to William Offley are of special note.
To learn about these characters and others linked with the church and the roles they played in history click here
To see magnified pictures and information on all the stained glass in this and other churches across Norfolk visit www.norfolkstainedglass.co.uk
Visit St.Giles Church website at http://www.stgiles.churchnorfolk.com/
|All Saints Westlegate||St. George Tombland||St. Julian||St. Michael at Plea|
|St. Andrew||St. Giles||St. Lawrence||St. Peter Hungate|
|St. Augustine||St. Gregory||St. Margaret||St. Peter Mancroft|
|St. Benedict||St. Helen||St. Martin at Oak||St. Peter Parmentergate|
|St. Clement||St. James Pockthorpe||St. Martin at Palace Plain||St. Saviour|
|St. Edmund Fishergate||St. John de Sepulchre||St. Mary Coslany||St. Simon & St. Jude|
|St. Etheldreda||St. John Maddermarket||St. Mary the Less||St. Stephen|
|St. George Colegate||St. John Timberhill||St. Michael(Miles) Coslany||St. Swithin|