Record Details

NHER Number:10484
Type of record:Monument
Name:Bell Hill

Summary

A large mound about seven metres high. Certainly artificial, it has been interpreted as having various functions, the most likely of these being a medieval or Civil War gun emplacement covering the River Waveney plain. In any event, interpretation is made difficult as the mound is covered in bushes and trees.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 4662 0145
Map Sheet:TG40SE
Parish:FRITTON AND ST OLAVES, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

Formerly in Suffolk.
Tumulus? 'Cannon ball and human remains found' Ordnance Survey.
'Pieces of pottery occasionally found' - see (S1).
(S2) calls Belton.
See also (S3).
Enormous mound about 7m high with large depression in centre, surrounded by overgrown quarry. Modern? Beacon? Glacial? Not a barrow.
A. J. Lawson (NAU), 16 December 1975.

Broads Tourist edition of OS 1:50,000 marks this mound as 'Battery' (antiquity). Reason for change? Is it just because of the cannonball or is there other evidence?
E. Rose (NAU), 6 March 1986.

Post medieval battery.
A substantial gun emplacement with a pronounced cannon ramp to the east, there is an enbrasure to the north and a wide range of the Waveney River plain is covered with an arc of fire of approximately 150 degrees. The work is densely covered in both trees and undergrowth and a precise type classification is not possible although the work is obviously medieval and probably civil war.
OS Records.
R.J. Rickett 8 May 1990.

Yet ref (S4) states that William Stapleton, a Tudor treasure hunter and monk of St. Benet's Abbey, was told by the owner of Caldecote Hall that 'there was much money about his place, and in especial in the Bell Hill'. The latter sentence is given by (S4) in quotation marks but its source is not given. (S4) also mentions a legend of a golden plough in the hill. The latter could be of recent date but if the mound was considered to be ancient before the Reformation it clearly cannot be a
Civil War feature in origin, assuming the name at that time referred to the same feature. Was an older mound used? Or is (S4)'s source suspect? Details of reference from (source).
E. Rose (NLA), 17 September 1992.

Reference (S4) now checked. The sentence about Bell Hill is given in quotation marks though the original source is not given. However, it is stated that Stapleton stood trial before Thomas Cromwell for his actions, which suggests that the basic information is reliable.
E. Rose (NLA), 24 November 1993.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Unknown date)
  • MOUND (Undated)
  • BEACON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BATTERY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COIN (Unknown date)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • POT (Unknown date)
  • CANNON BALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---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 - Bronze Age. Fritton and St Olaves.
<S1>Monograph: 1901. The Victoria History of Norfolk. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol 1. p 307.
<S2>Article in Serial: Dixon, S. E. 1916. Some Earthworks and Standing Stones in East Anglia, in relation to the Prehistoric Solar Cultus. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol II Pt II (for 1915-16) pp 171-173. p 172.
<S3>Newspaper Article: 1939. East Anglian Magazine. Vol.IV, p.505.
<S4>Publication: Westwood, J.. 1989. Gothick Norfolk.

Related records - none

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