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Celia Fiennes Visits Norwich (1698)

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Then you proceed to the citty which is walled round full of towers, except on the river side which serves for the wall; they seeme the best repaire of any walled citty I know, tho' in some places there are little breaches, but the carving and battlements and towers looks well; I enter'd the West gate, there are twelve gates in all and thirty-six churches which is to be seen in a clear day altogether, on the castle walls I told thirty myself; there they are built all of flints well headed or cut which makes them look blackish and shineing; the streetes are all well pitch'd with small stones and very clean and many very broad streetes; that I entred in first was very broad for two coaches or carts to pass on either side and in the middle was a great well house with a wheele to wind up the water for the good of the publick; a little farther is a large pond walled up with brick a mans height with an entrance on one end, a little farther was a building on which they were at work design'd for a water house to supply the town by pipes into their house with water, at a little distance was another such pond walled in, as I described before; these things fill up the middle of this spacious streete which is for use and also ornament, the spaces each side being so broad; this brings you into a broad space called the Hay market which is on a hill a very steep descent all well pitch'd as before, this comes to another space for a market to sell hoggs in and opens farther into divisions of buildings that begins severall streetes that runs off good lengths and are of tollerable size; one runs along behind, which is all for stalls for the country butchers that bring their meate for the supply of the town, which pay such a rent for them to the town, on the other side are houses of the town butchers, the inhabitants, by it is a large market for fish which are all at a little distance from the heart of the citty so is not annoy'd with them, there is a very large market place and hall and cross for fruite and little things every day, and also a place under pillars for the corn market . . .

On the castle hill you see the whole citty at once, being built around it, its a vast place and takes up a large tract of ground its six miles compass; here is the county hall and goale where the asizes are held and the sessions; nothing of the castle remains but a green space and under it is also a large space for the beast market and three tymes in the year is there very great faires kept, to which resort a vaste concourse of people and wares a full trade; the whole citty lookes like what it is, a rich thriveing industrious place; Satturday is their great market day; they have beside the town hall a hall distinct which is the sealeing hall where their stuffs are measured, and if they hold their breadth and lengths they are sealed, but if they are deffective there is a fine layd on the owner and a private marke on the stuff which shews its defficiency.

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