St. John Maddermarket

This may be one of the churches mentioned in Domesday Book, where it is called Holy Trinity.

‘Maddermarket’ is usually understood to refer to the sale of madder roots for making red dye, although there is no evidence to show that there ever was such a market.


The church has a rather truncated appearance, as there is no chancel, and its aisles cause it to be almost square in plan. The story that the chancel was taken down to allow Elizabeth I to visit the Duke’s Palace is almost certainly untrue. Like many other churches, it was rebuilt in the C15th without a chancel, and the elegant clerestorey, by being unusually tall, gives the truncated effect. It is faced with freestone, although the rest of the church is of flint.

The porches are incorporated into the aisles. The north porch has very thick walls, and may well be all that remains of the Church of the Holy Trinity which stood on this site in Anglo-Saxon times. Its doorway is much more ornate than that of the south porch, and this may be because it was the main entrance from the Duke’s Palace (which stood on the site of the car-park). It also has a fine rib-vault.

The tower, which was altered in 1822, has a processional way through its lowest storey; there is a rib-vault with 12 carved bosses. The east window is datable to the 1320s, and must have been reset from the previous church.


The square plan is at once apparent on entering. The west bay of the building, between the porches, has been made into a narthex by the gallery overhead. This was erected in 1912, and is a very good copy of the Jacobean style. The choir sang from here.

The dominating feature is the baldachin over the high altar. This is almost certainly the one made in 1741 for St Miles Coslany, and removed from there in 1883. It was brought here in 1917, and obscures the Gothic Revival reredos of 1863.

There is little of the mediæval furnishings surviving, but the interior was certainly divided up by screens as we see today, and there would have been a rood screen across the entire church. The aisle roofs contain much mediæval work, and that over the Lady Chapel (south aisle) is painted. The north chapel was similar, but has been removed.

The nave roof is also basically mediæval, although it was heavily restored in 1876, after a gas explosion in the church. Its construction is similar to that of St Peter Mancroft, where coving hides the hammerbeams.

The church has a large collection of brasses, some of which have been mounted on the walls at the west end. There is also a good collection of wall monuments from the C16th to the C20th.

The church was reordered in 1863, and then throughout the C19th and C20th. It was one of the earlier churches to adopt Ritualism in its services, and the furnishing reflect this.

The lectern is C18th, possibly Italian, and revolves. The pulpit is of 1863, but its sounding board may be C17th. The font dates from the 1860s.

There is a good collection of stained glass. The centre window of the north aisle has some C15th fragments, but the rest is all C19th and C20th. The north chapel has an Annunciation (1913; Powell), in the Pre-Raphaelite style; the south chapel has a Tree of Jesse (1916; probably King of Norwich). The east window is of 1870, and shows the healing of the Centurion’s daughter.To see magnified pictures and information on the stained glass in this and other churches across Norfolk visit


Many Norwich worthies, who were part of this church and community, are commemorated by by one of the finest collections of sculptured monuments in the City. Here are represented Mayors and Aldermen, a duchess, a variety of tradesmen and several "Doctors of Physick".

To learn about the main characters linked with the church and the roles they played in history click here


Churches managed by NHCT are highlighted in in bold below. Click to visit a church.
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