Record Details

NHER Number:10175
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of moated Tudor manor and medieval to post-medieval earthworks at Shelton Hall

Summary

This is the site of a moated Tudor house known as Shelton Hall or Manor House. The house itself was built by Sir Ralph Shelton (1430-1497) around 1490 and is described as moated and embattled, with corner towers and a turreted entrance gateway, a dining hall and chapel, and five courtyards. The house was sold to Sir Ralph Houghton sometime around 1600 and fell into disrepair during the 17th century. It was pulled down sometime before 1764, but a new hall (NHER 60714) was constructed within the moat in the 18th century. A 16th century jettied outbuilding (NHER 60713) survived on the site until the late 1980’s or early 1990’s and an early 17th century brick barn (NHER 53940) also remains. An earthwork survey in 1998 recorded the remains of the moated site in detail. A second, rectangular moat adjoins the main square moat and the remains of fish ponds are present to the north. Other linear features to the north and east of the moats have been interpreted as contemporary outer enclosures, but at least some of the features (particularly to the northeast) may be of medieval date. The only later feature identified within the grounds was a small, circular mound to the north that is likely the location of an early post-medieval dovecote.
Monitoring of various groundworks during the conversion of Shelton Hall Great Barn (NHER 53940) in 2014 recorded a number of archaeologically significant features, including a potentially medieval pit, a medieval/post-medieval ditch and probable post-medieval quarry pits.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TM 2273 9059
Map Sheet:TM29SW
Parish:SHELTON, SOUTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

This is the site of a moated Tudor house known as Shelton Hall or Manor House.

The house itself was built by Sir Ralph Shelton (1430-1497) around 1490 and is described as moated and embattled with corner towers and a turreted entrance gateway. Five courtyards were contained within the walls. The dining hall contained a lantern and oriel window and there was a chapel to the left of it (S1 and S2). It was most likely constructed in brick, as was Shelton Church (NHER 10188, also built by built by Sir Ralph Shelton). A drawing in Tom Martin’s Church Notes (S3) and reproduced in Rye (S4) and Armstrong (S1) depicts a rectangular, walled enclosure with corner towers and a hall running across the centre as well as two ranges of rooms crossing the hall at right angles. Within the foreground of the drawing is a small structure that may be a dovecote.

The house was sold to Sir Ralph Houghton sometime around 1600 (S2 and S5) and fell into disrepair during the 17th century. It was eventually pulled down, “many years” before 1762 (see illustration in S1 and S4). However, a 16th century jettied outbuilding (NHER 60713) survived until the late 1980’s or early 1990’s and an early 17th century brick barn (NHER 53940) also remains. A new hall (NHER 60714) was constructed within the moat in the 18th century. It is rumoured that Sundial Farm, Shelton (NHER 14131) contains 17th or 18th century panelling and an 18th century staircase from the hall.

An earthwork survey in 1998 (see below and S6) confirmed that the original hall was situated within a near square moat. Some brick revetting related to the original structure remains within the inner bank of some portions of the moat and the base of a corner tower remains in the south-west corner. A smaller rectangular moat joins this on the south-west side, and a series of linked ponds to the north-west are at least in part the remains of a former fish pond. Other linear features to the north and east of the moats have been interpreted as contemporary outer enclosures, but at least some of the features (particularly to the northeast) may be of medieval date. Two linear features link this site to the earthworks south of the moats, recorded under NHER 10182, which include possible building platforms and it has tentatively been suggested that these earthworks could be a forerunner to the Tudor Manor. The only later feature identified within the grounds was a small, circular mound to the north that is likely the location of a former dovecote.

The following buildings were previously recorded under this record, but are now described separately:
NHER 60714 - Shelton Hall
NHER 60713 - Outbuilding to Shelton Hall
NHER 53940 - Shelton Hall Barn

H. Hamilton (HES), 08 May 2015.

March 1979. Site visit.
Moat is wide and water-filled. Bridge on northeast of brick, mostly original, with one inner bank, two polygonal bastions which must mark the gatehouse. Northwest of this inner bank walled in flint. At southeast corner of moat, base of polygonal tower in brick; at northeast corner part of another. Present hall (NHER 60714) is c. 1800, with perhaps a slightly older part, and crinkle-crankle wall along northwest side. Odd pieces of carved stone lie around. Outer moat on southwest in similar good condition, but no access to this island now bridge has gone. Outside moats to northeast extremely long contemporary barn (NHER 53940) in red brick, similar to Hales Hall, with diaperwork much patched; line of slit windows. At south end of this timber-framed 16th century jettied house (NHER 60713), now in state of collapse. Pond marked southeast of these on OS map seems to be just a widening of a ditch and not part of a moat.
E. Rose (NAU), 22 March 1979.

1998. Earthwork Survey.
The earthworks in the fields surrounding Shelton Hall were surveyed at 1:1000. Site extended to north and north-east to encompass associated enclosures plus probable earlier features to the Tudor Manor.

The hall moat is approximately 12m wide and encloses a near square platform. Some brick revetting related to the original structure remains within the inner bank of some portions of the moat and the base of a corner tower remains in the south-west angle. A scarp and parallel faint parchmark extend from the south-east arm of the moat towards the 18th century hall, indicating an internal crossing range of the original complex.

The rectangular moated enclosure adjoining on the southwest is described as orchard on the 1838 Tithe map (S7) but is sub-divided by a ditch. The moat varies in width between 6m and 10m. There is an entrance in the south-eastern corner, but the slope from the interior make it doubtful that this was original. A footbridge from the hall moat to this area is depicted on 1970’s Ordnance Survey mapping, but this has been removed. There was no obvious system of surface inflow visible, and it has been suggested that the moat may have been partially fed by springs or the pond located 50m to the east. The Ponds to the north of this moat are known as the fishpond. These may have been contemporary with the moat, and may have originally consisted of two sections.
A series of ditches, forming enclosures, were identified to the north and east of the moats and it has been suggested that many of the features are likely contemporary with the moat, forming an outer enclosure boundary. A possible building platform was identified to the northeast of an existing farm track and a circular mound that likely supported a post-medieval dovecote was identified immediately to the west of this. Fragments of early post-medieval roof tile were found in the vicinity of the circular mound as well as a sherd of medieval pottery. The fields surrounding the mound are labelled as Great Dove House Meadow and Little Dove House Meadow on the Tithe map (S7). The linear features in the easternmost fields appear to be on a different alignment to those to the south-west and may represent medieval activity. Two sherds of medieval pottery were collected from this area. Two linear features link this site to the earthworks recorded under NHER 10182, which include possible building platforms and it has tentatively been suggested that these earthworks could be a forerunner to the Tudor Manor.
See report (S6) for plan and further details.
This site was included in (S8) and the survey is also noted in (S9).
Pottery identified by A. Rogerson (NLA), see secondary report.
Compiled by B. Cushion (NLA), 16 February 1998. Amended by H. Hamilton (HES), 08 May 2015.

January-November 2014. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of various groundworks associated with the conversion of Shelton Hall Great Barn (NHER 53940) into a residential property.

Groundworks in and around the Great Barn itself exposed a number of archaeologically significant features and deposits. A north-west to south-east aligned ditch was identified beneath the floor of the barn, the fill of which produced a single fragment of early post-medieval roof tile. This feature was sealed by a thick layer of chalky clay make-up that was interpreted as a levelling platform for the barn and the base for the original flooring. An area of burnt loam and heat reddened clay was also identified beneath the floor of the barn, associated with what may have been a burnt out sill beam. These were interpreted as evidence for activity predating the construction of the barn. Features contemporary with the use of the barn included a capped well or sump made from Norfolk red bricks of 19th- to 20th-century date. A patch of well-worn herringbone brick flooring was also noted. Wear patterns suggested that at some point these bricks had been lifted, turned and reset. A service trench also exposed the stepped brick footings of the barn, which were built from the same bricks as the walls.
The excavation of footings for a new outbuilding to the west of the barn revealed an area of clay makeup and an underlying cobble surface; both of which may have been contemporary with the 16th-century timber-framed building that previously stood in this part of the site (NHER 60713). The traces of a wall footing were also noted. More recent remains included a large wooden plank-lined water tank that contained dumps of ashy waste and late post-medieval brick rubble.

A water connect trench running adjacent to one of the main access tracks also exposed several archaeological features. A single large potentially medieval pit was observed in the field to the north-west of the Great Barn. The charcoal-flecked fill of this feature produced a single sherd of medieval pottery. Two post-medieval pits were recorded close to the south-eastern end of the track. These large features contained fragments of post-medieval brick and were interpreted as possibly clay extraction pits.
See report (S10) and NHER 10175 for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 2 November 2016.

Monument Types

  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Unknown date)
  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • HOUSE PLATFORM? (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • TOFT? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1490 AD to 1790 AD)
  • BEAM SLOT? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLOOR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SERPENTINE WALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TANK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TM2290 E-G,K.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Shelton.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Article in Serial: Armstrong, Rev B. J. 1895. Notes on the Church and Family of Shelton. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XII, pp 234-242.
<S2>Article in Serial: Cozens-Hardy, B. 1961. Some Norfolk Halls. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXII pp 163-208. pp 199-200.
<S3>Documentary Source: Martin, T. c. 1700-1799. Collections of Church Notes. Norfolk Records Office.
<S4>Publication: Rye, W. 1889. A Catalogue of Fifty of the Norfolk Manuscripts in the Library of Mr Walter Rye at Winchester House, Putney.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Focus on Shelton dynasty. 24 July.
<S6>Unpublished Report: Cushion, B. Shelton SMR 10175 & 10182. Earthwork Survey Report.
<S7>Map: 1838. Shelton Tithe Map.
<S8>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 123.
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 369-387. p 382.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Emery, G. 2015. A Combined Report for Archaeological Monitoring at Shelton Great Barn and an adjacent Ménage, Alburgh Road, Shelton, Norfolk. Norvic Archaeology. 59.

Related records

53940Related to: Great Barn, Shelton Hall (Building)
60713Related to: Site of 16th century timber-framed outbuilding east of Shelton Hall (Monument)

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