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Daniel Defoe Visits Norwich

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from A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-26)

'Norwich is the capital of all the county and the centre of all the trade and manufactures; an ancient, large, rich, and populous city. If a stranger was only to ride through or view the City of Norwich for a day, he would have much more reason to think there was a town without inhabitants, than there is really to say so of Ipswich; but on the contrary, if he was to view the city, either on a Sabbath-day, or on any public occasion, he would wonder where all the people could dwell, the multitude is so great. But the case is this; the inhabitants being all busy at their manufactures, dwell in their garrets at their looms, and in their combing-shops, so they call them, twisting-mills, and their other work-houses, almost all the works they are employed in being done within doors. There are in this city thirty-two parishes besides the cathedral, and a great many meeting houses of Dissenters of all denominations.

The walls of this city are reckoned three miles in circumference, taking in more ground than the city of London; but much of that ground lying open in pasture-fields and gardens; nor does it seem to be, like some ancient places, a decayed declining town, and that the walls mark out its ancient dimensions; but the walls seem to be paced, as if they expected that the city would in time increase sufficiently to fill them up with buildings. The cathedral of this city is a fine fabric, and the spire-steeple very high and beautiful. It is not ancient, the bishop's see having been first at Thetford; from whence it was not translated hither till the twelfth century; yet the church has many antiquities in it.'

See also Great Yarmouth | King's Lynn | Winterton
Norfolk Poems




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