Did you know...
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.
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.
Ed Balls’ ancestors were Norwich Freemen between 1404 and 1913, but the succession has lapsed and he is no longer eligible.