Lost Norwich Gates Come up for Auction in June

29/05/2019     Latest News


An important pair of Victorian bronze ecclesiastical gates from the late 19th century fromSt John the Baptist Church, Norwich, now the Roman Catholic cathedral, will come up for sale at Summers Place Auctions' sealed bid auction in Sussex which ends on Wednesday,
12th June 2019 at 4pm.

These gates, which originally stood outside the church, were removed in the early 1970s after three of the 11 panels had been stolen and it was decided to start remodelling works, remove pillars and widen entrances. At the time it seemed sensible to sell the rest of the gates. Rev. Dcn Patrick Limacher, says: “The parish priest at the time sold the bronze gates, but retained two of them, which were cleaned, restored and remodelled as screens and are now inside the cathedral. The ones that are coming up for auction still have the wonderful patina of gates that have been outside for decades. We have checked that these gates are definitely part of the ones that were sold over 40 years ago. Although we could no longer reinstate them in their original place it would be wonderful to get some of our heritage back and perhaps install them in the garden of the cathedral – they would make a lovely feature for wedding photos.”

Detail of the Norwich Cathedral Bronze gates

The cathedral was constructed on the site of the Norwich City Gaol between 1882 and 1910 as the largest Catholic parish church in England and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The funds for its construction were provided by Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk. He funded it as a generous gift to the Catholics of Norwich as a sign of thanksgiving for his first marriage to Lady Flora Abney Hastings, whom he married in 1877. Work commenced with a gift of £200,000, but sadly construction was only completed 23 years after Lady Flora's death in 1887.

Detail of the Norwich Catholic Cathedral George Gilbert Scott Jr Bronze Gates

In 1976, it was consecrated as the cathedral church for the newly erected Diocese of East Anglia and the seat of the Bishop of East Anglia. Built in early English Gothic style, the architect was George Gilbert Scott Jr, 1839-1897, known in later life as ‘Middle Scott’.
He was the eldest son of Sir George Gilbert Scott, and father of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and Adrian Gilbert Scott, all also renowned architects. During the 1860 and 1870s he worked for his father in his architectural practice before founding Watts and Company in 1874. He masterminded the main buildings of Dulwich College in South London. Some of his finest works, the churches of All Hallows, Southwark (1877), and St Agnes, Kennington (1880) were destroyed by Second World War bombing. Often overshadowed by both his father, who had the largest and most prestigious architectural practice in the country, and his sons. The last years of his life were marred by mental instability and excessive drinking. He died in the Midland Grand Hotel, St Pancras - a building designed by his father - of cirrhosis of the liver.

James Rylands, one of the directors at Summers Place Auctions, comments: “Part of our job is to discover the history of an object we have been offered by a vendor to sell atauction. It is always particularly exciting when we can help return something to its original
place.”

The pair of Victorian bronze gates, made by Thos Potter & Sons Ltd, Putney Bridge Ironworks London, SW, is 223cm high and 280cm wide and estimated to sell for £15,000-25,000. Three similar single gates (150cm wide) are expected to sell for £5,000-8,000 each.


For further information on the auction, please visit
www.summersplaceauctions.com or call 01403 331331.
For more press information, images or to interview one of the specialists,
please contact Silke Lohmann:
silke@exclamationpr.co.uk or 07932 618754.


Summers Place Auctions are the world's leading auctioneers of Garden Statuary and Natural History.
The sales are held in the award winning 5,000 sq ft gallery nestling within 6 acres of walled gardens and the arboretum
of the Victorian mansion, Summers Place, outside Billingshurst in West Sussex.


2019 Sales:

1st & 2nd October
19th November