The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars'

A photograph of The Halls - St. Andrew's and Blackfriars'
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The only English friary to survive intact from the medieval period.

The Halls were built over 600 years ago and were part of the medieval precinct of the Dominican or Black Friars.

The layout is typical of a medieval English friary church, including a large nave (St Andrew‘s) used for preaching to congregations and a smaller chancel (Blackfriars‘), where the friars held services. The nave and chancel were separated by a walkway, which would have allowed direct access to the cloisters.

St Andrew‘s Hall has an impressive hammer beam roof, a gift of the Paston family, whose townhouse was in nearby Elm Hill.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Augustine Steward (three times Mayor of Norwich) sent a proposition to Henry VIII in London, asking if the City of Norwich could buy the Dominican friary buildings. By pledging to use the Halls for the good of the citizens, for fairs and feasting, Steward ensured the friary‘s survival.

The Halls now hold the country‘s largest collection of civic portraits, totalling 127 late 16th to 19th century paintings of Norwich Mayors, Sheriffs and other dignitaries. Today both Halls host conferences, antique fairs, markets, weddings, concerts and even the largest provincial Beer Festival in the country.

Venue Type:

Heritage site

Opening hours

Dependent on events, please see website or events listings for details.

Admission charges

Dependent on events, please see website or events listings for details.

Additional info

A new web-based guide to the history and buildings of The Halls - St Andrew‘s and Blackfriars‘ has been launched.

The Norwich Blackfriars Online - - is a comprehensive guide to the medieval friary buildings, featuring innovative 3D computer models of the friary as well as plans, drawing, maps, edited documents in modern English, images and transcriptions of original documents and links to further reading.

The project was created by the Virtual Past team at the University of East Anglia (UEA) for Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Harry Watson Bursary. Generous support was also provided by the Norfolk County Record Office.

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

The Halls - St. Andrew's and Blackfriars' education pack

The education pack for The Halls is aimed at Key Stage 2/3 History and Citizenship and Key Stage 2 Science, Music and Art and Design, as well as families.
The pack includes a trail which is to be completed during a visit to The Halls. It provides pupils with a range of activities and encourages them to discover the building for themselves. This is done through a question-lead approach, with opportunities for pupils to record, observe and sketch throughout the buildings. The trail has been written as a broad, creative introduction to the building and covers a range of curriculum areas.


  • Written by Saul Penfold with illustrations by Mike McEwen.
  • Funded by Norwich HEART, as part of their Norwich 12 project (

How to obtain

The file is available as a free download via the link above. (It is quite large so may take some time). If you are not able to download it, please call HEART on 01603 305575 and we will send you a CD with the pack on it.

The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars'
St Andrew's Plain




01603 628477

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.