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3 HAYMARKET St. PETER MANCROFT FULL LICENCE See VINE
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The House of Backs saw the reigns of 17 Kings and 5 Queens since it was built by John Curat in the 16th century on the site of an earlier house. The cellars of the house contain an oak archway bearing the initials of John Curat and a date of 1501.
( The cellars  were originally those of the Old Jewry and were considered to be the largest in the region ).

Curat was at that time a notary ( lawyer ) later to become a wealthy mercer, dealing in silks, cotton, linen and woollen cloths.
In 1529 he was one of the Sheriffs of Norwich.

Other Sheriffs who lived here were John Croshold in 1720, and Philip Back in 1879.

7 generations of the Back family lived at the house until the early 1900's.
The ground floor used for many years as a grocers and wine merchants.
The business was taken over by Henekeys in 1948.

The first floor became a restaurant, the Curat Room being entered through a door dated 1583.
( This was originally the main bedroom ).
Carvings were executed by the same Italian craftsmen who had worked in the nearby church of St. Peter Mancroft in the early 17thC.

The rebus of Curat appears as a letter Q and a rat with the initials I. C.
Carvings of columbines to the right of the fireplace refer to Curat's wife, originally Miss Columbine.

In 1880 a cannonball was found embedded in the fireplace of the Curat Room, its origins unknown.

The Queen Anne Room has a fireplace with original delft tiles.
This room leads to the Sheriffs Room and to the Chapel.
The Chapel has a fine barrel ceiling.
This room was used for the cutting of sugar loaves when the house was used as a grocers.

The ground floor Elizabethan Room was originally the main dining room.
This room was destroyed by fire in March 1962.
Losses included a large panelled window of 28 panes of 19thC glass, then valued at £2,400

Repairs were completed with an oak balustrade separating the Elizabethan Room from the Long Bar.
Three ceiling carvings were spared from the fire and a fourth was recut.
( One of these carvings was a rebus of John Curat, a second being a badge in the form of a lovers knot design. The third being the Merchants Badge of John Curat bearing his initials I.C. The fourth badge being a quartered shield showing John Curats merchants badge, the arms of the Mercers Company, the arms of the Scriveners ( Lawyers) and the fourth a lovers knot. )

One of the beams bears the words `Restored in 1886 by P. Back and P. E. Back.'
Another beam bears the words `Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it.'

The Long Bar was also damaged by the 1962 fire and repairs included the installation of an ice making machine and cooled shelves for bottled beer, as well as an extra section to the bar to form an `L' shape.

A replacement window was fitted `Through the generosity of Norwich Museum - from the house of William Coo in St. Martins Oak Parish'
( The window dating from c1600 )

One of the fireplaces was found to have a `Sussex' fireback dating from 1605.

By the mid 1960's the house was described as a `Scheduled Ancient Monument and one of considerable historic interest.'

The VINE to 1971 but known as BACKS.
The cellars were used at one time for the bottling of Guinness,
later to be used as a wine bar, the MANCROFT VAULTS.

In the 1960's the house catered for a wide range of clientele at lunchtimes and the Long Bar was popular with the younger generation in the evenings. The separate snug fronting Gentlemans Walk was always populated with an older age range.
The younger customers became classified as `students'.
A (temporary) banning of the `students' led to much protest.
In the end the lack of spending power of the `students' was blamed for the closure of the house in 1971.

The property was converted into a clothiers shop.

The Long Bar was removed to the Jacquard Club which was located in the former White Lion, Magdalen Street.
The bar was cut into two, one piece forming the ground floor bar. The second piece formed another bar in the front upstairs room. 
( By 2004 the Jacquard Club had long closed and the house converted into dwellings - the bar had gone )

See BACKS