Alderman Norman's Claimants Unity


Alderman John Norman's prortrait

Portrait of Alderman John Norman

John Norman was born in Norwich in 1657 and lived in Old Catton. He prospered as a local farmer, landowner and brewer. He eventually became an Alderman and Mayor of the City of Norwich.

He died in 1724 and although having married twice, had no children; however, he was extremely interested in the education of children and left the bulk of his estate ‘In Trust’ to educate the male descendants of his close relatives. According to his wishes, the Norman Endowed School was eventually built for the benefit of his descendants but, as there were insufficient funds to maintain it, it was closed in 1934.

In 1839 his descendants were unhappy with the way the Foundation was being handled, and formed “The Claimants Unity” to keep a watchful eye on the Trustees. A Charitable Foundation, known as Alderman Norman’s Foundation was established by Act of Parliament and is now regulated by the rules of the Charity Commission.


Alderman John Norman’s tombstome mounted on one of the walls in the interior of St. Margarets

The Claimants Unity provides proof via the Registrar that the person claiming is a descendant from those listed in the “First Schedule” of the will. The Foundation is managed by a Board of Trustees as defined in the Act of Parliament.










  1. The church of St. Peter Mancroft has one of the most
    important peal of bells in the country and interesting for us is that the first ever true peal was rung in 1715…….the year in which John Norman was Mayor of Norwich, and the peal was increased to 10 bells in 1724. Another significant year. JN must certainly have been at the ceremony in 1715.
    see the St. Peter Mancroft website for more information

  2. The Charities Act of 2011 is now affecting the amount of
    income that can be distributed to descendents. Somewhat unfairly this also means that gifts to local organisations, Old Catton Church for instance – which John Norman would certainly have approved, are no longer possible.

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