New Catholic Dictionary – William of Norwich

William of NorwichArticle

(11321144) Died near Norwich, England. On Holy Saturday a corpse, showing signs of a violent death, and identified as that of William, a tanner’s apprentice, was found in Thorpe Wood, Norwich. According to Thomas of Monmouth, a monk in the cathedral priory of Norwich, the Jews lacerated his head with thorns, crucified him, pierced his side, and secretly buried him. The monk’s credulity led him to credit the spurious statement of Theobald, a converted Jew, that every year the Jews must sacrifice a Christian in some part of the world to insure their freedom and return to their fatherland, and that in 1144 it fell to the lot of the Jews of Norwich. This story has been the principal foundation of the false “blood accusation,” or accusation of Ritual Murder against the Jews. A chapel, called “Saint Williams’s in the Wood,” was built over the spot where the body was found, and William was popularly venerated as the innocent victim of hatred of the faith. Relics preserved at Norwich.

MLA Citation

  • “William of Norwich”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 November 2019. Web. 25 February 2021. <>