Record Details

NHER Number:1073
Type of record:Monument
Name:Bromholm or Broomholm Priory

Summary

Site of a Cluniac Priory dedicated to St Andrew and founded 1113 by William de Glanville. Initially subordinate to the Cluniac House at Castle Acre (NHER 4096), it came under direct rule in about 1195 and was dissolved in 1536. Extant remains include the north transept, chapter house, part of the dormitory and two gatehouses. Cropmark evidence and fieldwork have provided detailed information about the extent of the site. World War Two remains at the priory site that were previously recorded under this NHER number have been moved to NHER 27255.

Images

  • The ruins of the medieval gatehouse at Broomholm Priory  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TG 34607 33191
Map Sheet:TG33SW
Parish:BACTON, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

A Cluniac priory founded by William de Glanville in 1113 AD as a cell of the house at Castle Acre which quickly gained fame for possession of a relic of the 'true cross' and became a popular pilgrimage site. The priory was emancipated from the control of Castle Acre in 1298 (S29) and was dissolved in 1536. In 1834 the priory was being used as "a quarry for agricultural buildings and edifices" by Col. Wodehouse (S3). The ruins currently abut outbuildings of a farm, and have been used for various purposes. In the 18th century the north transept was used as a dovecote (S29). A cutting in the Norwich Castle Museum Bolingbroke Collection (S32) speculates whether the north transept was later used as a lighthouse due to the blocking of the walls, but Ordnance Survey records state that the most recent alterations date to World War Two military use (S33, see NHER 27255). In 1984, extant ruins consisted of the principal gate, a smaller gate, the north transept, a small portion of the south wall of the nave, a substantial portion of the chapter house, much of the dormitory, the east end of the refectory, sections of the precinct wall, and remnants of possible fish ponds (S29). Other structural remains of the priory buildings, the precinct boundary and associated enclosures are visible as cropmarks as well as fields and a road of probable medieval origin, post medieval field boundaries, and World War Two remains (NHER 27255). Fieldwalking and metal detecting between 1997 and 2006 have revealed a wide variety of finds, and have contributed to the analysis of the use of space within the priory (S28).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 28 March 2008.

1935. Casual Find.
A stone coffin containing a skeleton was found.
Information from file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

Before 1955. Casual Find.
Fragments of glazed floor tiles found at the priory were presented to the Norwich Castle Museum by [9].
Information from file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

July 1974. NAU Air Photography.
Cropmarks visible in a cereal crop indicate an extension of the south wall from the end of Broomholm Priory Church and a small structure on the east-west axis some 50m east of the church.
Interpretation by D. A. Edwards, March 1980.
These cropmarks suggest a walled yard east of the monastic buildings, perhaps an outer court or a novice's enclosure.
Interpretation by E. Rose.
Information from file, and (S7).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

September 1976. Field Observation by E. Rose (NAU).
The north gateway has a Perpendicular flushwork arch towards the priory, and was two bays deep. One of the side chambers is now full of rubbish. To the east, along Back Lane, runs the precinct wall, now overgrown and ruinous. All that remains of the church is a fragment of the south aisle wall, with a brick arch and stone pilaster-shaft, and the north transept standing isolated and partly ivy-covered. It is Late Norman, with round-headed doors and windows. Inside there is much EE work (sealed off by later blocking walls), and a spiral staircase. There are traces of an east chapel, which Pevsner dates to about 1300 with later rebuilding (S31). The remaining wall of the south transept has a window through to the chapter house retaining stone cladding. The Chapter House has very fine internal EE blank arcading. To the south is the basement of the dormitory, with a fireplace and some lumps of refectory. All these remains are very overgrown, and wooden props support the dormitory walls. The isolated gatehouse to the west of the farm consists only of two ivy covered lumps of flint walling. Apparently no remains were built into Abbey Farm.
Information from file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

July 1979. NAU Air Photography.
Cropmarks of three parallel ditches (centre one being widest) running in a north-west to south-east direction [11], possibly delineating the precinct of Broomholm Priory at some phase, together with a rectangular crop mark of a possible structure at [12] and associated apparent strip fields to the south-west.
Interpretation by D. A. Edwards, March 1980.
These fields are too wide to be true strip fields, but the ditch could be an outer boundary.
Interpretation by E. Rose.
Information from file, and (S8).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

1984. Field Survey.
A description of the ruins was compiled by M. Thomas. With the aid of Spurden's 1822 plan (S1), the extant remains were recorded. The oldest remains encountered during the survey were fragments of the north transept of the church. These are believed to date to the 12th century but have been significantly altered as they were re-used as a dovecote in the 18th century, used for storage up to the early 20th century, and were further altered during World War Two when it was used as a bunker (see NHER 27255). During the survey, remnants of tiles were observed on the top of the south wall. Only a small portion of the south wall of the nave was extant, which featured a 12th century pier and a later opening which had been blocked. The west front of the choir had almost entirely disappeared, but indications of its north wall were observed on the extant north transept wall. Details indicate that the choir was likely rebuilt in the early 1300's. A substantial portion of the chapter house was observed, although the window at the east end of the south wall which was visible until the late 1960s is no longer extant. This structure was also constructed at a later date than the north transept, and the east end was modified thereafter. The arch in the east wall of the chapter house stood until at least 1960. Much of the dormitory also remained at least as rough masonry, with walls extending to their original two storey height in some places and one particularly well preserved window. The dormitory appears to have been extended and improved in the early 13th century. Only the east end of the refectory remains, although this is a substantial wall. Other remains observed include the main gate, a smaller gate standing over the moat (of which the arch had collapsed), considerable remains of the precinct walls, and possible fishponds. See (S29) for more detailed architectural descriptions.
Information from (S29).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 28 March 2008.

August 1984. Field Observation by E. Rose (NAU).
A new steel frame barn has been erected at [10], outside the scheduled area and adjacent to a flint barn of about 1800 standing at a location marked as a small courtyard building on (S22). Several lumps of limestone including door jambs were revealed amongst the rubble. These are likely the remains of a demolished farm building which had re-used stone. Some blocks of re-used limestone in the south wall of a small farm building near the farmhouse were also noted during this visit.
Information from file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

1986. EH listing amendment.
The main priory buildings remain listed as Grade I. The North Gatehouse is listed grade II*, the West Gatehouse is listed grade II, and the South Gatehouse (described as a mound of flint) is listed grade II.
Information from file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

1997-2005. Fieldwalking and Metal Detecting.
Fieldwalking recovered 12th century to modern pottery sherds and a small quantity of flints including half of a Neolithic axe. Spatial analysis of pottery recovered during fieldwalking has identified that the western gatehouse was occupied between the 12th and 14th centuries (S28).
Metal detecting recovered over 8000 finds, but the vast majority of these consisted of undatable lead scrap, likely related to use and repair of lead roofing on the monastic buildings (S28). Over 600 metal objects have been identified and dated, including 30 fragments of copper alloy vessels, three horse harness pendants, a suspension hanger for a horse harness pendant, a rowel spur, book clasps, a lead seal matrix, a silver openwork knop from a seal matrix, the cut half of a lead papal bulla of Clement VI, a large quantity of dress accessories including buckles, buckle plates, belt stiffeners, strap ends, lace tags, and purse frames, brooches, a gold ring, lead weights, 165 coins dating from the 12th to 17th century, and 15 jettons or tokens. Other items of interest include a 13th century Limoges-style champleve enamelled and gilt plaque likely from a cross arm, a small copper alloy bottle likely used for storing holy oil, a small rectangular cast lead sheet depicting a woman (possibly an ex voto offering), three lead alloy discs depicting the Holy Rood on one side and a face (likely Christ wearing the Crown of Thorns) on the other.
Analysis of the distribution of the coin finds has revealed distinct clusters. Coins minted in the 12th and 13th century have been recovered from the north of the priory church and east of the chapter house only. 14th century coin finds were clustered in the area north of the priory church, east of the claustral range, and thinly scattered in the west field. Coins minted from the 15th century to the dissolution were only concentrated in the area north of the priory church. Commercial use of the site after the dissolution is indicated by finds of Elizabethan and later coins, again concentrated north of the priory church but also west of the trackway to the main gatehouse. Use of the site appears to quickly decrease in the early 17th century, after which it became a farm (S28).
Information from (S34), and (S28).
See also (S37), (S38), (S39), (S40), (S41), (S42) and (S43).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 March 2008.

1999. Metal Detecting.
Metal detecting recovered an undated lead disc, a medieval bar mount from a belt, possible remains of a medieval horse-harness pendant suspension mount, and a medieval writing lead. A penny of Edward I was also recovered.
See list in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 28 March 2008.

1999. Geophysical Survey and surface finds.
Finds recovered from the surface during geophysical survey of the area adjacent to the cloister range include a medieval or post medieval iron key, medieval and post medieval pottery fragments (including German stonewares), one sherd of 19th century grey pantile, and a fragment of a tapering whetstone likely of early medieval date and imported from northern Europe.
Identified by H. Geake and A. Rogerson.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 28 March 2008.

November 2001. Field Observation.
The ruins remain ivy covered, with much thistle and nettle growth, and some scrub growing adjacent to walls in central area. Some moulded stone was recovered by Tim Pestell (UEA) following some limited clearance by the farmer.
H. Paterson (A&E), 19 November 2001.

February 2002.
Section 17 Management Agreement (S25) signed 27 February 2002.
See copy in office file.
H. Paterson (A&E), 12 March 2002.

2002. Metal Detecting.
A metal detector survey within the precinct continued with members of the East Norfolk Detectors Club. The site has now yielded 71 medieval and early post-medieval coins, fifteen jettons, two more examples of the lead alloy token featuring the head of Christ on one side and Cross of Bromholm on the other, and a concentration of items relating to books and writing.
See (S40).
D. Holburn (HES), 7 October 2011.

March 2003. Field Observation.
Management of the site is to continue with clearance of farm debris.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 28 March 2008.

2003. Metal Detecting.
The field east of the claustral range has now been metal-detected for a third time. It is clear that finds distributions suggested by previous work are of real significance, and are being reinforced, while the number of non-ferrous targets being identified is reducing. This should allow drop-off rates and finds recovery patterns to be modelled. Finds include a silver book-clasp retaining traces of its cloth attachment strap and a third lead token bearing the head of Christ on one side and the Cross of Bromholm on the other.
See (S39).
D. Holburn (HES), 7 October 2011.

January 2004. Field Observation.
Examination of the cleared areas around the standing remains did not reveal any evidence of any carved monastic stone. Any found subsequently will be stacked and notified by contractor.
H. Paterson (A&E), 14 January 2004.

2004. Metal-detecting.
Controlled metal-detecting by members of East Norfolk Detectors Club has continued to recover non-ferrous metal finds of medieval, post-medieval and modern date from the priory precinct area. The two arable fields that today occupy the former precinct area have now each been detected three times on a 12.5m grid. The distributions of different kinds of finds, such as coins, weights, metal vessel fragments and jewellery has been refined and reinforced.
See (S38).
D. Holburn (HES), 26 September 2011.

February 2005. Field Observation.
Clearance of vegetation continues under Section 17 Management Agreement. The ivy remains thick on a small fragment south of the north transept and on the wall attached to the barn to the south.
H. Paterson (A&E), 17 February 2005.

February 2005. Norfolk NMP.
Cropmarks associated with the medieval Cluniac Priory of St Andrew at Bromholm are visible on aerial photographs (S7-19). These cropmarks include structural remains of the priory buildings, the precinct boundary, associated enclosures, fields and a road of probable medieval origin. Some post medieval field boundaries were also identified. World War Two remains associated with the priory site that were previously recorded under this NHER number have been moved to NHER 27255. [2]
The priory is located on a small island of land at a height of just above 10m OD with a shallow valley to its southwest. Cropmarks of a meandering palaeochannel are present within this valley representing a watercourse that flowed from northwest to southeast (S8-11, S19). The channel appears to have been quite braided and although some of the straighter sections along the sides of the main channel appear to be man-made it is likely that they represent former courses of the stream. Medieval and later features cross the palaeochannel cropmarks and it is possible that the extant drainage ditch through the valley bottom had replaced the natural watercourse by that period. Cropmarks of the natural palaeochannel were not recorded as part of the NMP mapping.
Negative linear cropmarks, probably relating to buried wall foundations, are visible to the east of the standing priory remains around [3] (S7, S14, S17-18). However, no evidence for the continuation of the choir to the east of the north transept is visible as cropmarks. A faint, roughly south to north aligned, cropmark extends intermittently for 17m between [4] and [5]. The alignment of this cropmark is roughly parallel to the surviving walls of the dormitory. The distance between this cropmark and the east wall of the extant chapter house suggests that the cropmark may correspond to the eastern side of the possible cemetery identified during a survey by Mr Spurdens in 1822 (S1). However, the cropmark appears to continue further to the north than the boundary shown on the plan of Spurdens’ survey. Extending for up to 45m to the east of this cropmark is a clearer cropmark of a possible wall. The first 32m of this wall from the western end appear to lie directly in line with the north wall of the chapter house and its continuation along the northern side of Spurdens’ possible cemetery. The cropmark kinks slightly to the south before continuing for a further 13m on an offset alignment. This eastern section of the cropmark forms the northern side of a possible rectangular building or enclosure measuring 11.5m long (west to east) by 5m wide (north to south). A second west to east aligned wall cropmark is intermittently visible for 23m between [6] and [7]. It is positioned 14m to the south of the first west to east cropmark and may continue the line of the southern boundary of Spurdens’ possible cemetery. A roughly north to south aligned cropmark connects these two probable west to east aligned walls creating an enclosure measuring 20m long (west to east) by 14m wide (north to south). An isolated 8m long section of west to east aligned cropmark, probably representing another wall, is located within this enclosure. To the south of this enclosure are two more isolated sections of probable wall cropmark on west to east and north to south alignments and measuring 7m and 6m respectively. A third negative linear cropmark, also measuring 7m long, is present on a northwest to southeast alignment further to the south.
To the south of these probable structural remains are cropmarks of pits and linear ditches (S17-19). A group of four possible pit cropmarks is located at [8] with a fifth pit positioned 14m to the south. These pits are sub-rounded to sub-rectangular in plan and measure between 2m and 4m across. Other similar cropmarks in this vicinity could not be clearly discounted as natural features and were not mapped. Although the mapped features could also be natural, their generally regular shape suggests that they are likely to be man-made. It is possible that these pits are of medieval date and that they are related to the priory. However, their close proximity to the farm buildings means that a post medieval date is equally likely. To the east of the pits are two linear ditch cropmarks aligned west to east and north to south. Their alignments are similar to that of the probable wall cropmarks to the north and are probably also of medieval date. Further to the south, adjacent to a farm track is a 38m long section of northwest to southeast aligned ditch cropmark. This cropmark corresponds to the boundary of the farmyard shown on the 1827 enclosure map and 1845 tithe map (S20-21). It originally continued to meet the southeast corner of the barn at its north-western end. By the time of the first edition 6” Ordnance Survey map in the 1880s it had been replaced by the modern line of the farm track (S22). The relationship of this ditch to the farmyard suggests that it is likely to be of post medieval date.
To the north of the standing priory remains are cropmarks of linear ditches, possible walls, and pits (S14, S17-19). A 4m long section of negative linear cropmark is located at TG 34740 33275 on a roughly west to east alignment. This appears to continue the same alignment as the south wall of the chapter house and probably represents part of the north wall of the nave depicted on the plan of Spurdens’ survey (S1). The continuation of this possible wall to the west is not visible as a cropmark. A group of north to south and west to east aligned positive linear cropmarks further to the west around TG 34715 33275 may represent the robbed-out remains of walls at the western end of the nave. A roughly north to south aligned linear cropmark which extends for 14m between TG 34708 33267 and TG 34710 33281 appears to lie in approximately the same location, and is the roughly the same length, as the probable western end of the nave identified by Spurdens. This cropmark forms the western side of a rectangular area measuring 5m wide (west to east) by 11m long (north to south). A large stepped rectilinear positive cropmark is located along the southern side of these cropmarks adjacent to an extant section of the south wall of the nave. This cropmark extends for up to 15m to the east of the possible western end of the nave and is up to 2.5m wide. Its date and function is uncertain but it may post-date the demolition of the nave. Located on its northern side is a smaller rectangular area, which measures 3m (west to east) by 2m (south to north) and is defined by positive linear cropmarks. One of its sides is formed by a south to north aligned linear cropmark that extends intermittently for up to 13m across the possible width of the nave. A west to east aligned positive linear cropmark that extends for 9m between TG 34713 33283 and TG 34722 33281 appears to be located too far to the north to correspond to the north side of the nave identified by Spurdens. Other west to east aligned linear cropmarks in this vicinity may also represent the robbed-out remains of walls. Further to the north are four short sections of negative linear cropmarks on west to east alignments. It is possible that these relate to buried wall foundations. Although they appear to form two pairs lying 4m and 2.5m apart, they are too incomplete to allow their original form to be determined.
Also in the area to the north of the standing remains of the priory are a number of positive linear cropmarks that probably represent ditches or drains (S17-18). Two of these extend roughly northwards downhill from the area of the nave. The shorter, easternmost one of these appears to lead to a sub-oval pit at its northern end. This pit, located at TG 34744 33312, is probably a soakaway or similar feature. To the east of this ditch is a second ditch on a perpendicular roughly west to east alignment, which extends for 17m parallel to the priory buildings. These ditches appear to define enclosures and act as drains on the north side of the church. Cutting across the westernmost south to north ditch are two other roughly west to east aligned ditches, which are probably not related to it and are of uncertain date. Also undated are two parallel, northwest to southeast aligned, ditch cropmarks. A rectangular pit cropmark with dimensions of 3m by 1m is located 5m to the northwest of the north transept remains. This pit may be related to the priory or farmyard and could be of medieval or post medieval date.
The area to the west of the main gatehouse remains contains a large number of cropmarks. In the northern part of this area, parallel linear ditch cropmarks extend for 65m between TG 34625 33420 and TG 34665 33467 (S16, S19). These ditches represent a field boundary that continues the line of the extant drain to the southwest. However, the boundary indicated by this cropmark is not marked on the 1827 Bacton enclosure map or later maps (S20). To the east of this field boundary are cropmarks of two possible parallel ditches spaced 14.5m apart. The date and function of these cropmarks is uncertain. Linear marks of probable agricultural origin are visible on the same aerial photographs and are aligned perpendicular to the ditch cropmarks creating the impression of a rectilinear enclosure. Linear cropmarks on a roughly west to east alignment between TG 34620 33385 and TG 34680 33372 follow the line of the north wall of the priory precinct (S16). The northernmost linear appears partly as a positive and partly as a negative cropmark. This suggests that part of the wall survives as buried foundations, while other sections have been removed leaving only a robber trench. The western section, which appears as a negative cropmark, is flanked by a positive linear cropmark along its southern side. Further positive linear cropmarks aligned parallel and perpendicular to the eastern section of the precinct wall suggest a possible enclosure or structure on its southern side.
Within the precinct area two alignments of faint linear negative cropmarks are present at TG 34655 33325 (S14). These parallel cropmarks are spaced 5.5m apart and extend for up to 20m on a roughly west-north-west to east-south-east alignment. It is possible that they relate to an incomplete structure. A more extensive group of linear cropmarks on the same parallel alignment is present 30m further to the south (S11-14). These cropmarks comprise a mixture of both negative and positive linear features representing possible buried wall foundations and robber trenches or ditches. Central to this group of cropmarks is an incomplete rectangular enclosure located at TG 34635 33295. Three sides of this enclosure are visible as negative linear cropmarks, giving it dimensions of 5m (north to south) by at least 26m (west to east). The southern side is partly flanked by a positive linear cropmark. Although it is most likely that this is an enclosure defined by stone walls, it is not impossible that these cropmarks represent a building. Three positive linear cropmarks to the west of this enclosure lie on the same alignment and probably represent ditches or further robbed-out walls. To the east of the enclosure, positive and negative linear cropmarks continue the alignment of the south side of the enclosure towards the farm track. A northwest to southeast aligned linear cropmark and a curvilinear cropmark located at TG 34665 33290 are not obviously related to the other cropmarks and are of unknown date.
A west-north-west to east-south-east aligned negative cropmark of a probable wall extends for 30m between TG 34649 33279 and TG 34678 33271 (S11-14). This wall appears to continue the same alignment as the wall along the south side of the nave, further to the east. A parallel negative cropmark, representing another wall is present 30m to the south. Located between these two walls is a third negative linear cropmark on a north-west to south-east alignment. This feature does not obviously relate to the other possible wall cropmarks and is of unknown date. The two parallel wall cropmarks and a curving north to south aligned ditch between TG 34642 33249 and TG 34630 33205 may represent parts of two incomplete enclosures. Crossing these enclosures are two parallel ditch cropmarks. These are spaced nearly 4m apart and could define a track or road within the precinct area. To the west of these are three east to west aligned ditch cropmarks, probably representing related enclosure or field boundaries. Located at TG 34635 33220 are two concentric ditched enclosures (S11-14). The inner enclosure is slightly trapezoidal in plan and has maximum visible dimensions of 9.5m by 9.5m. The western 6.5m of this enclosure is divided off by an internal ditch creating a smaller enclosure. The outer enclosure is roughly square in plan and measures 19m by at least 18m. These enclosures are located at the western end of the Abbey Farm farmhouse and could relate to the priory or post medieval farm activity. A number of pit cropmarks are present in the area to the northwest of the farmhouse. A large pit is present at the northwest corner of the outer enclosure, with a second one along is northern side. This forms the southern extent of a roughly south to north line of pits. Some of these appear to cut, or are crossed by, the west to east enclosure wall cropmark. A second cluster of inter-cutting pits is present at TG 34628 33258. Like the pit cropmarks to the east and north of the priory buildings the date of these features is uncertain. Whilst it is possible that they are medieval and relate to the priory it is also feasible that they are of post medieval agricultural origin. Immediately to the north of the smaller group of pits at TG 34624 33265 are rectilinear cropmarks forming three sides of a small enclosure or structure. These cropmarks measure 3m by 4.5m and lie on a south-south-west to north-north-east axis. It is possible that they represent the robber trenches of a stone building or the foundation trenches of a timber structure, which may be related to the priory.
Cropmarks of three incomplete conjoined enclosures are centred on TG 3456 3322 (S16). The western side of these enclosures is not visible as cropmarks but they presumably continued up to the adjacent extant drainage ditch. The northernmost enclosure measures at least 13m long (west to east) by 12m wide (north to south) and is sub-rectangular in plan. The middle enclosure to its south is rectilinear in form with dimensions of at least 17m (west to east) by 15m (north to south). The southernmost enclosure has a more curvilinear form and measures 17m (north to south) by at least 10m (east to west). These enclosures are likely to be related to the partially extant priory gateway, which lies immediately to the west of the northernmost enclosure at TG 34542 33242. The position of this gateway suggests that the extant drainage ditch, forming the southern boundary of the field, is probably of medieval date.
A cropmark of a rectangular pond is located at TG 3471 3300 (S9, S15, S19). It lies on a south-west to north-east axis and measures up to 63m long by 11m wide. Its total length includes a small rectangular area measuring 3.5m wide by 6m long that is present on the western corner of its south-west end. Extending for 22m from the southern corner of the south-west end is a cropmark of a leat connecting the pond to the extant drainage ditch that forms the field boundary. A second leat cropmark extends from the south-east side of the pond for 60m on a north-west to south-east alignment. It links the pond to a boundary ditch along the south-east side of the field. Parallel to, and 5m northeast of, the leat cropmark was a section of narrow ditch cropmark that also joined the field boundary ditch. This cropmark did not connect to the pond to the north-west. The north-eastern end of the pond cropmark adjoins an extant pond, which continues its length for a further 35m. A silted-up area is located further to the north-east giving the pond a total original length of approximately 110m. This pond is marked on both the Bacton enclosure and tithe maps (S20-21) and is shown at its original length. The leat connecting its south-western end with the drainage ditch is also marked on these maps, but the ditches to its south-east are not shown. The pond is located in the valley bottom cutting across the cropmarks of the palaeochannel. It is likely that this pond was a fishpond associated with the priory. It is possible that this is the ‘ffyshhponde’ referred to in the Manor Court Book of Bromholm in 1528 (S24).
A linear ditch cropmark, on a south-east to north-west alignment, is present on both sides of the north-eastern end of the pond (S15, S19). This ditch is not marked on the 1827 Bacton enclosure map (S20) or later maps. The exact relationship between the ditch and pond is not clear from the cropmark evidence. Although it is possible that the ditch is earlier and is cut by the pond, it seems more likely that they are contemporary and it was the boundary ditch that formed the northern limit of the pond. However, the topography of the site makes it unlikely that this ditch served any drainage function to or from the pond. The ditch extends for at least 200m to the northwest of the pond and for 52m to its southeast. At its north-western end, a second ditch 4m to its north is aligned parallel to it for a distance of 97m. It is possible that these parallel ditches define a track or road along the boundary. The location of this boundary appears to correspond to the southern side of a large enclosure around the priory marked on Faden’s 1797 Map of Norfolk (S23). It is perhaps possible that this was the southern boundary of the priory precinct, which had survived until the late 18th century. However, the small scale of Faden’s map means that the position of any boundary needs to be treated with caution. To the south-west of this boundary ditch are two ditch cropmarks on a south-west to north-east alignment parallel to the fishpond. It is possible that these are the boundaries of fields that extended down towards the drainage ditch along the present field boundary. Another linear ditch cropmark, which clearly relates to a different phase of activity, is visible between the drainage ditch at TG 34552 33187 and TG 34730 33116 (S9, S15-16, S19). This ditch incorporates the southern boundary of the garden of Abbey Farm and is shown on the 1845 Bacton tithe map (S21). Only a short section, immediately east of the garden was marked on the 1827 enclosure map (S20), indicating that this is predominantly a 19th century field boundary. A short section of ditch cropmark at TG 34703 33161 forms part of a curving ditch that was also marked on the enclosure map (S20). Two small groups of pits are visible as cropmarks close to the drainage ditch around TG 34570 33125. It is probable that these pits are of medieval date and that they are associated with the priory, although their function is unknown. A slightly curving ditch cropmark is intermittently visible between TG 34525 33128 and TG 34595 33166 (S9, S11, S19). This ditch is present on both sides of the extant drainage ditch that forms the modern field boundary and appears to be cut by it. The northern end of this cropmark seems to stop at the possible precinct boundary ditch, but it is not clear if there is a relationship between these two features. As it is likely that the drainage ditch along the field boundary is of medieval origin, the curving ditch cropmark would seem to be of an unknown earlier date. This curving ditch cuts across the northern and southern parts of the palaeochannel cropmark, but is not visible across the main central channel.
Cropmarks of a former road are present to the west of the drainage ditch between TG 3431 3334 and TG 3456 3307 (S8, S10, S15-16, S19). The road itself is visible as a broad positive cropmark that extends for 250m between TG 3438 3324 and TG 3456 3307. Although this cropmark has the appearance of a ditch, it is more likely to be the worn surface of a hollow way. This road is marked on Faden’s 1797 Map of Norfolk (S23) when it is shown to link the modern road to the north-west, at approximately TG 3428 3339, with a road which survives as a farm track to the south-east at TG 3471 3287. Its route to the south-east of the visible cropmark appears from the map to have lain alongside the surviving drainage ditch. Only the north-western section of this road, corresponding to the visible cropmark, was marked on the 1827 Bacton enclosure map (S20). At that time it was called ‘Green Lane’ and led into a large field to the south of the drainage ditch. By 1845 the road had been completely removed (S21). The gradual disappearance of this road during the first half of the nineteenth century suggests that this was an old route that had fallen out of use and was slowly being absorbed into the surrounding fields. Its presence as a hollow way cropmark indicates that it had been in use for some time and it is likely that it is of medieval date. The north-west section of the road is flanked on both sides by narrow ditches that appear to be connected to field boundary ditches. To the south-east of the road four roughly parallel ditches define sub-rectangular fields. These lie end on to the road and extend up to a modern field boundary ditch to the south-west. Although they are marked on the 1827 enclosure map (S20), it is probable that they are of an earlier, possibly medieval, date. Like the road these fields had been amalgamated into a larger field by the time of the 1845 tithe map (S21).
To the north-east of the road are ditches defining additional fields in this area (S8, S10, S15-16, S19). The broadest of these extends for 108m between TG 34453 33165 and TG 34540 33230 and links the roadside ditch with the drainage ditch to the north-east. Parallel to, and 18m north-west of, this ditch is a narrow ditch cropmark, which appear as a double ditch at its north-eastern end. A section of another parallel ditch is present 30m further to the north-west. A group of parallel linear cropmarks are aligned perpendicular to these between TG 34500 33236 and TG 34550 33173. These cropmarks appear to be ditches, but are aligned along part of the palaeochannel and could be natural features. A group of rectangular positive cropmarks is present in this area. It is possible that these represent sunken-floored timber buildings of medieval date. The most northerly of these is located at TG 34460 33227 and measures 11m long (roughly north to south) by 4.5m wide (west to east). The second possible building lies on the same alignment as the first and measures 19m long by 7m wide. This cropmark is crossed by one of the south-west to north-east aligned ditches, indicating that they relate to different phases of activity. To the west of this possible building is an irregular shaped positive cropmark flanked by two linear features. It measures up to 13m long by 9m wide and could represent a structure. Two other roughly parallel ditches are present immediately to the north of this cropmark. A curving palaeochannel cropmark also passes through this area between the building cropmarks. Significantly, no cropmark evidence of a trackway or path leading directly towards the extant gateway remains at TG 34542 33242 was visible in this area.
Further to the north-west is another south-west to north-east aligned field boundary ditch, which extends between TG 34389 33257 and TG 34450 33316. This is cut by a modern field boundary, but appears to join a double ditched, north-west to south-east aligned field boundary cropmark at its north-eastern end. This north-west to south-east aligned boundary was marked on the 1827 enclosure map and 1845 tithe map (S20-21). Further to the north-west are two rectangular positive cropmarks (S8, S19). A rectangular feature is located at TG 34401 33298 on a north-west to south-east axis. It measures 10m by 3m and could represent another sunken floored timber structure of possible medieval date. However, this cropmark is located on a playing field, and although it appears on aerial photographs from several different years, it could be of modern origin. A sub-rectangular pit of unknown date is located at TG 34382 33353. This feature measures 5.5m long (west to east) by 3.5m wide (north to south).
Cropmarks of modern and non-archaeological features were also visible on aerial photographs. These were not mapped but are briefly discussed here to avoid confusion. A curving linear cropmark extends between TG 34550 33275 and TG 34680 33028. A second linear feature joins this from the north-east part way along its length at TG 34663 33121. These cropmarks are only visible on aerial photographs taken after July 1986 and were not present on photographs dating to July 1983 or earlier (S9-13). It is likely that these cropmarks represent modern pipe trenches, possibly for land drains. A linear positive cropmark is intermittently visible between TG 34747 33350 and TG 34850 33200. This cropmark is only visible on aerial photographs taken on 28 June 1996 and is likely to have a modern agricultural origin (S17-18). A previously recorded possible ring ditch at TG 34604 33268 appears to be a mark on the negative from the developing process and is not a cropmark (S16). Examination of the aerial photographs also revealed that part of the east wall of the dormitory collapsed between July 1983 and July 1986 (S9, S12).
Information from (S7-24).
J. Albone (NMP), 23 February 2005.

October 2005. Field Observation.
Rubbish and vegetation clearance continues under Section 17 Management Agreement.
H. Paterson (A&E), 18 October 2005.

October-November 2005. Watching Brief. No contexts used.
No archaeological finds or features were observed during monitoring of excavation of two trenches for the construction of a new water pipeline.
Information from (S26).
J. Allen (NLA), 5 March 2007.

Before 2 February 2006. Metal detecting.
A post medieval silver finger ring was found in grid square E3 NW during a controlled metal detecting survey as part of archaeological investigation.
See (S25) in file.
E. Darch (NLA), 3 February 2006.

February 2006. Metal detecting.
A lead weight of possible medieval date and a medieval to post medieval thimble were recovered in the field southwest of the gateway.
See list in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 28 March 2006.

September 2006. Field Observation.
A low wall on the northern edge of the concrete platform has been damaged during the use of the area as a field access point; a post and rail fence may be put up to protect it. The North Transept has had some recent small stone falls and there are a number of cracks. The Chapter House also is in need of repair. The western gatehouse is covered in vegetation and is not covered by the current Section 17.
D. Robertson (NLA), 1 December 2006.

January 2007. Field visit with contractor.
Support for eastern dormitory wall has rotted and blown over.
D. Robertson (NLA), 16 April 2007.

February 2007.
Section 17 management agreement signed.
See (S27).
D. Robertson (NLA), 16 April 2007.

March 2011.
Renewed Section 17 management agreement signed.
See (S35).
D. Robertson (NLA), 3 March 2011.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIELD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MONASTIC PRECINCT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PRIORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • LIGHTHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • CROSS (Undated)
  • DISC (Undated)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BROOCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BULL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BULLA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CAULDRON (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CHRISMATORY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DAGGER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HARNESS MOUNT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HARNESS PENDANT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • JETTON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LACE TAG (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOUNT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PENCIL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT MEND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PURSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PURSE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • RING (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROWEL SPUR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROWEL SPUR (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SEAL MATRIX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SEAL MATRIX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP END (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STYLUS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOKEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VOTIVE MODEL? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WEIGHT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BIRD FEEDER (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLOTH SEAL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CROTAL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • JETTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOKEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Document: H. Paterson (A&E), MPP. Section 17 Management Agreement.
---Archive: Norfolk Monuments Management Project File.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Bacton [2].
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Article in Serial: Ashley, S. 2006. Recent Finds of Anglo-Norman 'High-Status' Objects from Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 105-108.
---Digital Archive: Norfolk Monuments Management Project Photographic Archive.
<S1>Publication: Harrod, H. 1857. Gleanings among the Castles and Convents of Norfolk. pp 220, 232.
<S2>Publication: Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R. N. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales. pp 96, 98.
<S3>Correspondence: Woodward, S.. 1827. Correspondence. vol II. Vol II folio 67v. Folio 67v, 1834 p 59.
<S4>Article in Serial: 1923. Archaeological Journal. Vol 80, p 352.
<S5>Monograph: Page, W. (ed.). 1906. The Victoria History of Norfolk. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol 2. pp 359-363.
<S6>Photograph: Kent, P.. 1995. 21A - 22A.
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TG 3433A-C (NLA 10/ADH17-9) 08-JUL-1974.
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1979. NHER TG 3433J-K (NLA 73/AMT9-10) 17-JUL-1979.
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1983. NHER TG 3433U-W (NLA 137/ATR1-3) 29-JUL-1983.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1983. NHER TG 3433AA (NLA 137/ATN28) 29-JUL-1983.
<S11>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1986. NHER TG 3433AB (NLA 184/DCU27) 29-JUL-1986.
<S12>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1986. NHER TG 3433AK-AL (NLA 184/DCT3-4) 29-JUL-1986.
<S13>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1986. NHER TG 3433AM-AQ (NLA 184/DCU24-28) 29-JUL-1986.
<S14>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1989. NHER TG 3433AT-AY (NLA 231/DQZ2-7) 30-JUN-1989.
<S15>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 3433ABB (NLA 267/GBP4) 28-JUN-1990.
<S16>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 3433ABC (NLA 267/GBP5) 28-JUN-1990.
<S17>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 3433ABD-ABF (NLA 365/JFF14-6) 28-JUN-1996.
<S18>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 3433ABG-ABH (NLA 365/JFG1-2) 28-JUN-1996.
<S19>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1976. MAL 76052 235 29-JUN-1976 (NMR).
<S20>Map: Glegg, J.. 1827. Map of the Parishes of Witton, Bacton, Edingthorpe and Paston (NRO C/Sca 2/338).
<S21>Map: 1845. Bacton Tithe Map 1845 (NRO DN/TA 873).
<S22>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1887 - 1891. Ordnance Survey first edition 6" (1887 - 1891) Sheet XX.SE.
<S23>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S24>Serial: Sandred, K.I.. 1996. The Place-Names of Norfolk Pt 2 The Hundreds of East and West Flegg, Happing and Tunstead. Pt 2. p 141.
<S25>Unpublished Document: Pestell, T. and Darch, E.. 2006. Potential treasure find from Bromholm Priory, Bacton, Norfolk..
<S26>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival, J. 2006. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Bromholm Priory, Bacton, Norfolk. NAU Archaeology. 1117.
<S27>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. 2007. Section 17 Management Agreement.
<S28>Article in Monograph: Pestell, T.. 2005. Using Material Culture to Define Holy Space: the Broomholm Project.. Defining the Holy: Sacred Space in Medieval and Early Modern Europe.. Spicer, A. & Hamilton, S..
<S29>Unpublished Report: Thomas, M. 1984. A Study of the Remains at Bromholm Priory, Bacton, Norfolk.
<S30>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. Drawing of Bromholm priory.. 2 May. 2 May.
<S31>Monograph: Pevsner, N. & Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England.
<S32>Archive: Bolingbroke Collection.
<S33>Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards.
<S34>Article in Serial: 2000. Church Archaeology. Vol 4. vol 4, pp 52-4.
<S35>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. 2010-2011. Norfolk Monuments Management Project Section 17 agreement.
<S36>Monograph: Martin, L. 2010. Bromholm Priory, Norfolk. Report on Geophysical Surveys, November 2005 and March 2006. English Heritage Research Department Report Series. 83-2010.
<S37>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2006. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2005. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 124-136. p 124.
<S38>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2005. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2004. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 751-763. p 751.
<S39>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2004. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2003. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt III pp 573-588. p 574.
<S40>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2003. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2002. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 368-384. p 368.
<S41>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2002. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt I pp 162-177. p 163.
<S42>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 708.
<S43>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 369.

Related records

MNO7062Related to: Ruins of Broomholm Priory Abbey Street BACTON (Revoked)

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