This post is a taster of a long-term project recording the legacy of the Normans in Norfolk, within the county’s modern landscape — religious buildings, strongholds and surviving decorative forms on doorways and fonts — culminating in a 117-page photographic e-book.
Churches, priories and abbeys
While round tower churches — of which 124 of the UK’s 185 remaining examples are in Norfolk — are most readily identified with the Normans, the invaders borrowed what was a Saxon design and built them using Saxon labour.
Norman administrative power was wielded from rich priories, with the protective patronage of the barons and their castle-based garrisons.
Favoured conquering knights were rewarded by land allocations, headquartered in lavish castles, in the founding of a feudal system of elitist resource kleptocracy that still pervades the county almost 1,000 years later.
Art and decoration
Norman stonemasons were often talented artists, a fact evidenced by remaining doorways with multiple orders of elaborate decorations, and finely carved church fonts.
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