Did you know...
The freemen paid to build the city walls in the early 14th century. The idea was to defend the city from attack, but it was much more useful for collecting tolls.
From the early 15th century, the freemen governed Norwich in relative harmony for 250 years – in marked contrast to other large rival towns in England such as Bristol, York and Newcastle.
During Queen Elizabeth I reign, Norwich Freemen devised one of the earliest schemes of poor relief in the country. It later served as a model for national schemes.
It’s an old tradition that freemen had the right to be hanged with a silk noose!