Norwich the Old City A History of Norwich Page 1


Although there is evidence of the occupation of East Anglia from prehistoric times, (the remains of a neolithic henge - made in wood because of the lack of rock in the area - lies buried just south of Norwich) to start this history we are going back to the time when the first signs of a township appeared in the area.

Norfolk Coastline - todayBut first let's look at the geography of the area.
East Anglia is composed of clay and sand. There is no hard indigenous rock in the area, though there is an abundance of flint.
The area is though of by many as being flat because there are no hills of any consequence, but minor hills and valleys abound in a gently rolling landscape.
But there are areas that are completely flat. In the west, below and to the west of The Wash, is a vast area known as the Fens. Countless dykes and ditches dug over the centuries have just kept the sea at bay. And in the east, the rivers now meander through the drained remains of the vast estuaries that once led to the sea.
Even today the coastline is continually changing as the soft cliffs are eroded by wind and tide. Countless houses and even whole villages & towns have disappeared beneath the waves.

Norfolk Coastline - Roman timesThe area around Norwich is at about 40 metres (120 feet) above sea level, and during the glacial period the rivers Wensum, Yare and Tas and countless minor streams carved valleys through the sandstone crag, leaving well drained terraces above the marshy edges of the rivers.
The river Yare between the Norwich area and the coast was much wider than today. At the coast the estuary was very wide. What was to become Great Yarmouth was then only the start of a sandbank, and the invading ships from Europe had easy access to the Norwich area.

History Index The Iceni & Romans

Copyright © Ken Ward 2004
Last Updated: 28 November 2006

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