Tombland at night or day, at certain times, feels like a ghost-town. One moment I am swept up by the passing traffic, in another I have turned into a side street and there is nothing but a throbbing stillness that meanders through the cobblestones. Here, there is the blend of old and modern; traffic noise, people with chaotic lives, cobbled paths, vintage shops, forgotten history to some. There are moments even in the most chaotic of places where there is a quietude, a tranquility of sorts, which deep down everyone craves. Here, at night, nothing is alive except flickering light bulbs, but I have to look and listen hard for those hidden sounds, tucked inside the alleyways…
I walk on, hiding in the shadows like sound itself, zigzagging through the winding paths, unseen. I am a spectre in this part of the city, woven into the night, woven into a new history. Some say these parts are haunted, but it’s not haunted, this is just a place where certain memories are trapped in time.
Tombland is situated in the heart of Norwich City. It is cloaked in history, dating back before the Normans. There are tudor houses, gateways to the cathedral, one of them built in the 1300’s and the other in the 1400’s. The Maid’s Head Hotel dates back over 8 centuries, it’s thought to be the oldest and most haunted. Wherever you look, up, down, left or right, there is history seeping into your eyes. Beneath Tombland itself there are said to be 5000 people buried in mass graves as the result of the plague. The cathedral precinct is only a stones throw away, the River Wensum just a few mins walks away. Cobbled stones line most parts of Tombland, and Tombland actually meaning an empty space in Old English. This place is far from empty. It is a jewel that lies in the heart of the city.
(Jared Sagar, 03 September 2017)