This page lists some of the past exhibitions at Hungate and illustrates the range of material that we have shown. For information about our current programme, please see Whats On and Learning At Hungate.
Past major exhibitions:
The Pastons were one of Norfolk’s most prominent families from about 1380 to 1750, rising from medieval peasants to becoming nationally important members of the aristocracy, and key figures in the dynamic power-play and politics of the Tudor and Stuart courts. They were, in many ways, the first modern family. What makes the Paston family truly unique is that they left a vast collection of letters and accounts of their lives in late medieval Norfolk – the now famous ‘Paston Letters’. These documents tell stories of their everyday lives, as well as the wider events of the medieval world, and the enemies they made during their rise from obscurity to power. It is now 600 year since the first of the surviving Paston letters was written.
From May to November 2018 Hungate hosted an exhibition telling the story of the rise and fall of this remarkable family. Showcasing the work of the 600 Paston Footprints Project, the exhibition will also played host to numerous events, activities and workshops that shed further light upon the life and times of one of Norfolk’s foremost families. Visitors will be able to discover how archaeology and 3D modelling are bringing back to life the lost houses of the Pastons, see previously little known Paston documents, and even meet the Paston’s themselves…
The 600 Paston Footprints is a Heritage Lottery funded project that will, through community collaboration and detailed research, produce a range of new resources that will help local people connect with the remarkable story of the Paston family, as chronicled in the Paston Letters. 600 Paston Footprints is a collaborative project between numerous local partner organisations, including the Paston Heritage Society, the University of East Anglia, and the Norfolk Record Office. The three year project will highlight the remarkable story of the Paston family, the times they lived through, and make original resources available to the public for the very first time.
‘Hungate: After the Middle Ages’ August – November 2017
Student interns from UEA worked with expert volunteers and local people to follow the history of the church and community through the turbulent 17th century, when Norwich had to find its place in a nation at war with itself, to the prosperity and independence of the 18th century when the tiny, three-street parish, was one of the City’s wealthiest; home to merchants, radicals and civic leaders.
The story twists and turns on into the 19th century when industrial boom and bust brought working class residents, the reduced the area to slum conditions and, early in the 20th century, to the very brink of demolition. Finally the exhibition traced how the fledgling conservation movement, including the newly formed Norwich Society and the pioneering Museum of Ecclesiastical Art – the first repurposed parish Church in the UK – led to Elm Hill and Hungate becoming a flagship for the best of historic city centres, and the thriving residential and business community it is today.
‘Epoche: Suspension of Judgment’
This site specific piece by Su Nichols and Lindsay Elise Jolly, graduating students of Norwich University of the Arts, was in Hungate from May-August 2017.
Playing on both the way light streams into our space, and the theme of Angels, the installation consisted of thousands of meters of string, carefully suspended by hand between the tower, the nave floor and the chancel roof, without impact on the historic building. It was a remarkable piece, both solid and ethereal – and deeply connected to the special place of it’s installation.
More pictures of Epoche can be viewed here
Hungate in its Parish 2017.
One of 58 medieval parishes within the city walls, St Peter Hungate was always small by comparison with its larger neighbours, but just what sort of place was it in the middle ages? Archaeological finds from various locations in the area give glimpses of the material possessions of those who lived and passed through this ancient part of Norwich. The exhibition will also provide details of the history of our building in its heyday, and help visitors to ‘read the building’ for themselves. Of course, none of these stories would be complete without the people behind them. Visitors to the exhibition will be introduced to some of Hungate medieval residents, including John Paston, who built, decorated and used the church, and how they lived, worked and worshiped in this remarkable and fascinating little parish, set between Blackfriars and Tombland.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a full program of talks and family events.
Paul Harley is a teacher, photographer and historian. About this project Paul says:
“I have enjoyed Norfolk churches for years, often stumbling on them on bike rides. Many sit lonely in fields, their villages having moved their focus over the centuries. Some are simple and humble, a few are grand and spectacular, but many reveal secrets forgotten or barely known except to a few experts, or individuals who help maintain them and keep them open…. My focus here is mainly on some of the medieval wood and stone carving, most of it 500 years old or more. I have chosen to represent this work in black and white. It enhances the detail and texture in a graphic and often atmospheric way, revealing the skill and imagination of anonymous craftsmen who present their world to us. There are mythical beasts, green men, wodewoses, animals and the faces of the people themselves – frozen in time, like photographs. Sometimes the carving is highly skilled; sometimes it is crude, basic and yet oddly powerful…”
2015: Ministries of Defense: Breckland’s hidden Churches and Landscapes
Requisitioned by the military at the start of the Second World War and used for active training ever since, Stanford Training Area (STANTA) near Thetford, West Norfolk, is home to the four medieval churches of Stanford, Tottington, WestTofts, and Langford, each with its own identity and special architectural features.
Rarely visited, 2015 years program revealed their remarkable history. the first part of the season covered the medieval history and later alterations of the Churches, and in the second show artist Gerard Stamp was granted special access to the interior of the area to create unique painting of the interiors and exteriors, while Matthew Flintham traced the circumference of its vast perimeter in an installation with sound samples. Both created work that responds to the strange and atmospheric landscape.
2 August–11 November 2014
Continuing the theme of memorialisation; a personal exploration of the memorialisation of the First World War, by Mike Dodds.
As you are; so was I
March – 2nd August 2014
An exploration of the medieval tradition of memorialising the dead in church monuments, with photography by Paul Hurst
Anti-Angels: The Medieval Other
28 September–3 November 2013
To mark the end of a season of celestial artwork, an exhibition explored contemporary interpretations of medieval demons, monsters, gargoyles and other such creatures.
29 June–15 September 2013
A photography exhibition by Michael Rimmer. By the late Middle Ages English constructional and decorative woodworking had attained a level of skill and sophistication unrivalled in Europe. East Anglia’s churches are home to one of the most spectacular and distinctive products of this medieval expertise – the angel roof.
From Birdsong To Light
25 May–16 June 2013
A solo exhibition of sound installations by Nicholas G. Brown. Each work explored medieval ideas about music, especially the relationship between music, science and architecture. The cruciform structure of St. Peter Hungate provides a metaphor for the three-stage hierarchy of music in the Middle Ages.
Heaven’s Gate: Medieval Rood Screens from Norfolk
28 July–4 November 2012
An exhibition about the role that painted rood screens played in the life of the laity in the Middle Ages, Heaven’s Gate explored one of the most important means of religious communication before literacy became widespread. Sponsored by Purcell.
Journeys Through The Light
16 March–15 July 2012
A multi-media exhibition, focused on contemporary artists’ responses to the experience and qualities of light as it travels through medieval stained glass and the stories conveyed therein. Featuring works by many contributing artists.
Stained Glass exhibition
April 2009–November 2011
Curated by Dr Claire Daunton (University of East Anglia) with
photographs by Mike Dixon. The exhibition reflected the distinctive Norwich school of medieval glass whilst looking at the development of stained glass over the period and the people and processes involved in its production.
In 2012 the exhibition went on tour and has been displayed at St. Nicholas Chapel, King’s Lynn, near the Tuesday Market Place.
As well as our main exhibition space in the Nave and Chancel of St Peter Hungate, Hungate can also host smaller exhibitions in the two transepts of the Church. These exhibitions provide a chance for other local research and community groups to use our space, and have included:
- St Peter Hungate and the Pastons
- The Bishops Art Prize
- Norfolk Heraldry Society
- Shaping24: Historical links between Norwich and Ghent
- Focus on Hungate by photographer Julia Cameron
If you are interested in using the transept spaces and your work is focused on medieval art in some way, please do get in touch by email at HungateGlass@aol.com.