Welcoming the Strangers

Norwich prospered in the 16th century, thanks to an influx of immigrants, who arrived fleeing persecution.

Strangers welcome: the initial invitation to 24 Dutch (beginning with John Powells) and, beneath them, six Walloon masters (beginning with Robert Goddarte) to settle in Norwich, 1565.‘More than a third of the city’s population now immigrants.’ Today that reads like a shock tabloid headline, but 450 years ago in Norwich, refugees were welcomed.

To outsiders, this was astonishing. The contemporary writer and historian Alexander Neville noted that Norwich was ‘a city seated daintily, most fair built she is knowne, pleasing and kind to Strangers all, Delightful to her own’. The poet Michael Drayton described Norwich as ‘That hospitable place to the industrious Dutch’.

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