An exceptional set of medieval hospital buildings, in continuous use for more than 750 years
The Great Hospital was established when Bishop Walter de Suffield decided to found a hospital for elderly clergy, poor scholars and the sick poor. It was known as St Giles' Hospital until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century.
The medieval hospital buildings and layout resemble those of a monastery or priory and are set around one of the smallest cloisters in England.
The associated church of St Helen's stands to the south - what was once its chancel ceiling is decorated with 252 painted black eagles and dates from 1383. This part of the hospital complex is known as the Eagle Ward.
The medieval church was reduced in size in the 16th century by separating off the chancel and infirmary with two vertical walls. The wards at each end were then divided horizontally into 2 floors, with individual cubicles, to increase patient capacity and effect the segregation of men and women.
The site also includes a medieval refectory and Victorian Hall, as well as St Helen's House, built by Thomas Ivory in the 18th century.
The Great Hospital is the only English medieval hospital whose archives and fabric together survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Today, the Great Hospital continues to provide sheltered housing and care for the citizens of Norwich.
The Lodge, at the entrance to St Helens Square, is an information room covering the history of the Great Hospital and also depicting life both now and plans for the future. It contains static visual displays and audio interactive displays and will be connected to St Helens Church through a level access pathway through the butterfly garden. The Lodge was opened by Carole Rawcliffe, Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia at the end of October 2011.