Record Details

NHER Number:22944
Type of record:Monument
Name:Broad Fen


A possible former peat cutting, typically datable to the medieval period, is partially depicted on 19th century maps. There were many medieval turbaries in this part of Norfolk. These, when flooded in the late medieval period, became the Broads. The faint traces of former doles in the northern part of the site described here may be visible as vegetation marks on aerial photographs. The Broad was apparently drained during the construction of the North Walsham and Dilham canal (NHER 13534).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3422 2533
Map Sheet:TG32NW

Full description

Broad Fen is stated in (S1) and several histories of Norfolk to have been a lake known as the Broad before being drained for the construction of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal in 1825. But (S2), produced in 1797, shows no lake here, only common land. However an earlier broad is quite possible from the situation, compare to NHER 22943.
(Not in (S3)).
E. Rose (NAU) 1 October 1986.

November 2006. Norfolk NMP.
NMP mapping has led to the alteration of the central grid reference of the site from TG 344 254 to TG 3431 2535.

The postulated turbary described above is depicted as an elongated area of open water, oriented east-to-west and named ‘The Broad’, on both Smallburgh Enclosure Map of 1814 (S4) and Dilham Tithe Map of 1840 (S5). It is situated to the south of Broad Fen, to either side of the North Walsham and Dilham canal (NHER 13534). Its absence from both Faden and Bryant’s maps of Norfolk, (S2) and (S6), certainly raises questions as to its origin and date.

Faint linear vegetation marks visible across the northern part of the site on aerial photographs (S7) to (S9) may reflect the outline of former doles. They have not been mapped, even by extent, as they are rather patchy and easily confused with more mundane drainage features and plantation ridges. Their identification as doles is certainly far less reliable than at other sites, such as East Ruston Allotment (NHER 22943) 1.35km to the north.
S. Tremlett (NMP) 20 November 2006.

Monument Types

  • PEAT CUTTING? (Unknown date)
  • PEAT EXTRACTION SITE? (Unknown date)
  • PEAT EXTRACTION SITE? (Unknown date)
  • PEAT CUTTING? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Monograph: Bryant, J.. 1900. Norfolk Churches..
<S2>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S3>Monograph: Lambert, J.M. & Jennings, J.N.. 1960. The Making of the Broads: A Reconsideration of their Origin in the Light of New Evidence..
<S4>Map: Corby, R.. 1814. Smallburgh Enclosure Map. 1 inch: 6 chains.
<S5>Map: James Wright, Aylsham. 1840. Dilham Tithe Map. 1 inch: 3 chains.
<S6>Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 5087-8 09-JUL-1946 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72111 061-2 02-MAY-1972.
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: ADAS. 1995. ADAS 630 185-6 26-MAY-1995 (BA).

Related records - none

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