The Civil War Comes to Norwich

The Great Blow: Examinations and Informations relating to the Great Blow in Norwich, 1648 On 24 April 1648 a rioting crowd unwittingly unleashed the largest explosion in seventeenth-century England, detonating ninety-eight barrels of powder in the house rented to Norfolk’s County Committee, very close to Norwich market place. The blast was heard throughout Norfolk and caused damage to many of the city’s buildings. It occurred when the nation was poised on the brink of the Second Civil War. Despite it being such a dramatic moment in Norwich’s history, the episode has been overlooked by many national narratives of the Civil Wars. Norwich is usually considered a strongly parliamentarian city, ‘puritan’ in its sympathies and deep within the powerful Eastern Association, a distant backwater from the theatres of war in which armed royalism presented a military threat. The evidence generated by the ‘Great Blow’ challenges that perception. The subsequent investigation by