Most of us are so wrapped up in our everyday pressures we often fail to stop and appreciate little gems in our familiar surroundings. Pulls Ferry marks the site where a channel from the River Wensum was made into a canal during the building of Norwich’s Norman Cathedral. High quality limestone was brought from Caen in France to build the Cathedral. Limestone shipped from France was ferried up the River Wensum and along the canal to the cathedral site. The flint archway and gatehouse tower in the photograph were built over the canal in the 15th century, and the house (obscured by summer foliage but visible in Victorian sketch) in the 16th century. The canal was eventually filled in sometime in the 1770s.
During the 12th century it was important for Norwich as England’s second city to have prestigious buildings. The Cathedral together with Norwich Castle were conceived of as a pair and, significantly, as such a pair, they were both dressed with Caen stone. This is the same Caen limestone that was used for Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. It is possible to view the erection of such buildings, in an almost modern ‘corporate identity’ manner, as the powerful stamping of the Norman mark across the country during the 100 years that followed the taking of England by William the Conqueror and the Normans.