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Norwich is the fourth most densely populated local-government district in the East of England, with 3,480 people per square kilometre (8,993 per square mile).
In May 2012, Norwich was designated England's first UNESCO City of Literature.
From the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important.
This area extends beyond the city boundary, with extensive suburban areas on the western, northern and eastern sides, including Costessey, Taverham, Hellesdon, Bowthorpe, Old Catton, Sprowston and Thorpe St Andrew.
In 1216, the castle fell to Louis, Dauphin of France and Hildebrand's Hospital was founded, followed ten years later by the Franciscan Friary and Dominican Friary. It has the distinction of being the only English city ever to be excommunicated, following a riot between citizens and monks in 1274. Wool made England rich, and the staple port of Norwich "in her state doth stand With towns of high'st regard the fourth of all the land", as Michael Drayton noted in Poly-Olbion (1612).
The Domesday Book states that it had approximately 25 churches and a population of between 5,000 and 10,000.Mercian coins and shards of pottery from the Rhineland dating from the 8th century suggest that long-distance trade was happening long before this.Between 924 and 939, Norwich became fully established as a town, with its own mint.Quern stones and other artefacts from Scandinavia and the Rhineland have been found during excavations in Norwich city centre. The Normans established a new focus of settlement around the Castle and the area to the west of it: this became known as the "New" or "French" borough, centred on the Normans' own market place which survives to the present day as Norwich Market.
In 1096, Herbert de Losinga, Bishop of Thetford, began construction of Norwich Cathedral.Herbert de Losinga then moved his See there to what became the cathedral church for the Diocese of Norwich. Norwich received a royal charter from Henry II in 1158, and another one from Richard the Lionheart in 1194.