ST. WILLIAM AND HIS CHAPEL
The boy William – a young lad of about 12 and the first recorded apprentice in English history – was allegedly murdered by members of the Jewish Community resident in Norwich at Easter 1144. A Chapel was consecrated to him in 1168 on the supposed spot where his mutilated body was discovered on what is now Mousehold Heath but was then known as Thorpe Wood.
The various depictions of St. William Boy & Martyr in England and Europe.
St John Maddermarket - Pottergate
Painting of St. William with St. Ages on the **rood screen formerly in St. John Maddermarket. Commissioned in 1450 by Ralph Segrym, - later Mayor of the City - who is buried beneath the nave of the Church. The screen was removed (date unknown) and is now believed to reside in the V & A museum London.
St Mary Magdalene –Silver Road
Painting of St. William on rood screen - panel now framed in wood, on east wall of Church - moved from St James Pockthorpe in 1972. Exact date of painting not known but believed to be around 1500. There are ten panels originally taken from St. James Pockthorpe before it was converted to Puppet Theatre. The then vicar also had the foresight to bring the front (it looks medieval but no details as yet) and some stained glass windows, which they think are Flemish glass, there also looks to be some old Norwich glass as well. Strangely all the panels have the saint's names painted below still visible except St. William - poor lad murdered, made famous and then discredited, sounds quite modern doesn't it.
Holy Trinity Church, which was built towards the endof the 15th Century.
This is the best known example and still exists. Again St. William is depicted on the rood screen and is shown being actually crucified on a crude cross.
Canterbury – Kent
Window dedicated to St. William in Canterbury Cathedral.
Eye – Suffolk
15th Century painting of St William – complete with his ”martyrs marks “and carrying a cross –on rood screen in Church of St. Peter & St. Paul.
St. William’s Chapel site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument – and is protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (Revised). Source- Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI).
Section 28 of the above Act states that:-
“A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any protected monument – knowing that it is a protected monument ; and intending to destroy or damage the monument or being reckless as to whether the monument would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence. “
Damage to an Ancient Monument is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or up to six months in prison.