Large scale excavations and associated research during 1990–5 have provided new insights into the development of a substantial area within medieval Norwich, to the east of the Castle, at the former Mann Egerton premises on Prince of Wales Road. Archaeological evidence survived for the geography and use of plots dating from the Late Saxon period until the acquisition of this area by the Franciscan Friary in the late 13th century. The remains of at least three small Late Saxon buildings were found. Two of these sunken features, located at the western and eastern extremities of the site, appeared to have been workshops: that to the west contained a penny of Alfred (AD 887–9), although the building itself was evidently in use during the 11th century. Mapping of waste materials allowed a range of manufacturing activities to be located. Mutually exclusive distributions of antler-working and metallurgical debris provided striking evidence of specialisation within identifiable plots. Metalworking evidence included residues from the melting of copper alloys and silver, silver refining and iron smithing. A Viking lead weight bearing the name of Alfred was recovered, probably struck at Norwich in the earlier 880s, and its presence alongside evidence for silver-working suggests possible minting activity.
Archaeological remains from the 12th to 13th centuries include the earliest indications of buildings along the east side of King Street, also a road crossing the area, and traces of adjacent plots. The findings include evidence for the cemetery of St John the Evangelist, which had disappeared by the late 13th century, and possible links to the nearby church of St Vedast. When combined, the new evidence makes important contributions to current understanding of Norwich’s developing urban topography and a wide range of socio-economic issues relating to the pre-Friary periods.
Phillip A. Emery, 2007. 'Norwich Greyfriars: Pre-Conquest Town and Medieval Friary', East Anglian Archaeology 120