Record Details

NHER Number:20982
Type of record:Monument
Name:Late Saxon to medieval burials, pottery sherds and small finds, Williamson Crescent


Several inhumations were discovered at Williamson Crescent during construction work in 1948 and 1949. The number and geographical extent of the burials remains uncertain, but a small area was excavated by G. Knocker in 1948 and a contractor's trench was observed in 1949. On the first occasion at least four burials were recorded and a very large quantity of Late Saxon pottery was recovered which is believed to represent material discarded from a nearby kiln (see NHER 5847). A path, several post holes, and a possible hearth believed to post date the burials were also recorded. On the second occasion, one inhumation and additional disturbed human remains were recorded. The latter were associated with what appeared to the be the remains of a cist constructed of re-used Late Saxon carved stone. Additional inhumations and structures were discovered during excavations in 2006 (see NHER 41990).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 8649 8250
Map Sheet:TL88SE

Full description

November 1948. Casual Find.
Contractors found two burials during work in this area. One of the burials was an adult male and was apparently associated with a Walsingham lead ampulla. The ampulla has a scallop-shell ornament on one side while the other side features a letter 'R' in a circle beneath the Annunciation lily-pot.
See (S1, p 53) and (S2) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 21 August 2008.

December 1948. Excavation. G. Knocker Site 3.
A small area was excavated following discovery of a mass of pottery while digging a water mains trench. Four inhumations and two unexcavated features which were likely additional graves were recorded prior to infilling of the excavation area. Unfortunately no details of the burials have been recorded, as the skeletal material was mixed together following the excavation.
The graves appeared to be cut into a layer of black soil which yielded a large quantity (4600 sherds) of Thetford ware pottery including two possible wasters and twenty discoloured sherds. Due to the homogeneity of the assemblage, it has been interpreted as a dump from a nearby kiln (see NHER 5847). The excavator had previously interpreted the assemblage as the remains of a shop because of the lack of sooted sherds and the unusually small quantity of animal bone, but this has been refuted due to a lack of joining sherds. Some of these sherds had been incorporated within the grave fills but these finds had not been separated from the general assemblage.
In the west of the excavated area, a feature which may have been a small hearth was cut into the layer of black soil while to the east this layer was cut by a cobble path. The path was over 0.3m thick and ran north-south but did not appear to continue south of the mains trench which ran east-west through the excavated area. The path was lined on the west with four parallel post holes, while two additional post holes were recorded to the east.
See (S1, p 42) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 21 August 2008.

1948-1959 (at some time). Casual Find.
Pewter disc brooch was found during construction work at location [2].
See (S1, p 68 no 3) for further details.

July 1949. Field Observation.
A small area was investigated following reports that 'many' graves had been disturbed during construction work in the vicinity of Site 3, excavated in 1948 (above). A line of five pieces of re-used limestone was observed in the southern side of a contractor's trench as well as a further line of four stones immediately south. The stones were resting on natural soil and disturbed human remains were found in and around them. Two of the stones were decorated with an interlace pattern and one with a circular depression (S3). G. Knocker interpreted the blocks as the remains of the south wall of a cist constructed of unmortared re-used stones, the remainder likely having been removed by the contractors.
In the south of the trench an extended burial of a female aged 30-40 was recorded and further long bones were found to the west. Finds recovered from the overlying soil include an iron key and Late Saxon St Neot's and Thetford ware pottery.
See (S1, p 53) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 21 August 2008.

May-August 2006. Trial Trenching and Watching Brief.
See NHER 41990 for details of an evaluation and watching brief which recovered late Saxon inhumations and the footings of two substantial walls.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 29 May 2008.

For further discussion of the ampulla from this site, see (S4).
A. Cattermole (HES), 16 May 2011.

Monument Types

  • CIST (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD)
  • HEARTH? (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD)
  • PATH (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • POST HOLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • INHUMATION (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • GOUGE (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LOOMWEIGHT (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NAIL (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • RING (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WASTER (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • AMPULLA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BROOCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Rogerson, A. and Dallas, C. 1984. Excavations in Thetford 1948-59 and 1973-80. East Anglian Archaeology. No 22. pp 42, 53, 68 (No 3).
<S2>Publication: Spencer, B.. 1980. Medieval Pilgrim Badges from Norfolk. p 16; No 39.
<S3>Photograph: NLA. Finds Photograph.
<S4>Article in Serial: Anderson, W. 2010. Blessing the Fields? A Study of Late-medieval Ampullae from England and Wales. Medieval Archaeology. Vol LIV pp 182-203. p 185.

Related records

49110Related to: Late Saxon inhumations and ?later substantial walls. (Monument)

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