Record Details

NHER Number:11727
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Shipden medieval village

Summary

The medieval settlement of Shipden is mentioned in the Domesday Book, but by the reign of Henry IV (1399-1413) it had been completely washed away by coastal erosion and settlement had relocated further inland, to what is now Cromer. Local tradition holds that Church Rock, occasionally revealed at low tides about 150 yards east of the end of the Cromer Pier (NHER 39328), marks the location of Shipden Church which was dedicated to St Peter. Divers have investigated Church Rock on several occasions and remains of a large building have been identified, but to date no evidence has been recovered which would identify the structure as a church.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 221 425
Map Sheet:TG24SW
Parish:NORTH SEA, -, NORFOLK

Full description

Site of Shipden medieval village and St Peter's Church.

The medieval settlement of Shipden is mentioned in the Domesday Book (S1 and S2), but by the reign of Henry IV (1399-1413) it had been completely subsumed by the sea (S3) and settlement had relocated further inland, to what is now Cromer.

By 1336 part of the churchyard had been washed away and an acre of land was purchased elsewhere in order to build a new church and churchyard (S4). This land is where Cromer parish church (NHER 6475) now resides (S4). Documents in the Bolingbroke Collection (S5) indicate that St Peter’s church fell in 1350, but other documentary research states that it was last in use around 1400 (S4).

Local tradition holds that Church Rock, located about 150 yards east of the end of the Cromer Pier (NHER 39328), marks the location of St Peter’s Church (S6). Locals have stated that the rock includes a section of flint walling which is occasionally visible at extremely low tides (S6). See NHER 62500 for details of the steam tub Victoria, which struck Church Rock in 1888 (details of this wreck were previously recorded under thie number but are now recorded under NHER 62500).

Divers have investigated Church Rock on several occasions and remains of a large building have been identified (S7), but to date no evidence has been recovered which would identify the structure as a church. See undated notes (S8) for additional comments on the form of the remains.
H. Hamilton (HES), 04 December 2017.

Before 1982. Marine recovery.
A dive was organised in order to retrieve part of the wreck of the Steam Tug Victoria for the Great Yarmouth Museum (See NHER 62500 for further details of the wreck), located at Church Rock. The diver indicated that he observed the walls and doorway of the church as well as the footings of houses along the road.
Information from journal article (S9). Also summarized in (S10).
E. Rose (NLA), 24 February 1982.
Updated H. Hamilton (HES), 04 December 2017.

September 1985. Marine Reconnaissance.
M. Warren of the Cromer Museum and David Pope organised a dive to investigate Church Rock.
Three substantial pieces of masonry were located and inspected. All three were described as consisting of large, rounded beach flints set in masonry and the three pieces were located in an east-west line, parallel with the beach. The westernmost measured approximately 2 feet 6 inches high, 8 feet long (east-west), and 4 feet 6 inches wide. The central piece of masonry was of a similar height but only 3 feet in diameter, and the easternmost reached about 6 feet high and had a diameter of 8 feet. The surrounding seabed was described as fairly flat, with natural chalk revealed in some places, but mostly covered with large flints and chalk rubble.
The investigator concluded that the flint did appear to be the remains of a substantial building. While there was no direct evidence for or against its identification as the former Church of St Peter of Shipden.
See short report (S7) for further details.
E. Rose (NAU), 3 October 1985.
Updated H. Hamilton (HES), 04 December 2017.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Allison, K. J. 1955. The Lost Villages of Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXI pp 116-162. p 156.
---Monograph: Bryant, T. H. 1900. Hundred of North Erpingham. Vol V. p 192.
---Monograph: Harbord, R.. 2001. The Piers & Jetties of Cromer, Norfolk: A survey of historical structures on the foreshore..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Page, W. (ed.). 1906. The Victoria History of Norfolk. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol 2.
<S2>Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 24 SW 2.
<S3>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1808. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol VIII. 548. p 105.
<S4>Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No 212; p 54.
<S5>Archive: Bolingbroke Collection.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979. Diver with buoy. 12 July.
<S7>Unpublished Document: Warren, M. 1985. Report on a Dive on Church Rock, Cromer..
<S8>Unpublished Document: Harbord, R.. [Unknown]. Church Rock, Shipden alias Cromer, Norfolk..
<S9>Article in Serial: Trett, P.. 1982. Marine Archaeology. Yarmouth Archaeology. Vol I, No 4.
<S10>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card. NHER 11727.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2020 Norfolk Historic Environment Service