Record Details

NHER Number:30712
Type of record:Monument
Name:Earthworks south west of Old Hall and multi-period pottery finds

Summary

This site consists of earthwork enclosures overlooking the River Stiffkey, which appear to represent tofts and crofts of a medieval date. Late Saxon and medieval pottery has also been found on the site. The full extent of these earthworks is clearly visible on 1946 RAF aerial photographs, although some earthworks still remain extant on the ground and have been surveyed. Late Saxon, medieval and post medieval pottery fragments were recovered from the site in 1997.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 9726 4273
Map Sheet:TF94SE
Parish:STIFFKEY, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

7 September 1993. Ordnance Survey air photography.
Row of H-shaped earthwork enclosures. Possibly drainage but seems a little far up the slope for this judging by the contour lines. Tofts?
Copy of print in file.
B. Cushion (NLA) and E. Rose (NLA), June 1994.

1997.
Report and sketch plot at 1:2500 in file.
Suggests not tofts, fields?
Pottery identified by A.Rogerson (NLA).
One Thetford Ware jar rim.
One base medieval unglazed.
Five body sherds medieval unglazed.
Four Glazed Grimston.
One Late medieval/Transitional.
B. Cushion (NLA), June 1997.

October 2002. Norfolk NMP.
This site consists of earthwork enclosures overlooking the River Stiffkey, which appear to represent tofts and crofts of a medieval date. The full extent of these earthworks is clearly visible on 1946 RAF aerial photographs (S1) and Hunting Survey aerial photographs from 1969 (S2). Brian Cushion has surveyed this site on the ground, as mentioned above. The complementary results of these two survey methods would indicate that this site consists of medieval tofts and crofts. This date is also indicated by the late Saxon and medieval pottery found on the site and listed above. The earthworks consist of embanked elongated strips, likely to be medieval to late medieval field divisions, with possible structures at one end, such as a toft and croft system. These then appear to have been incorporated into the post-medieval field system, surviving mainly as fields. These fields are marked on an estate map of Stiffkey, dated to the early 1630’s (S3) and are also mentioned in the 1583 field book (S4). This evidence suggests that perhaps the toft element of the site is no longer present by this date and only the fields remain. It is possible that the earthworks of these fields remain, due to the area being purchased by Sir Nicholas Bacon when they bought the Hall and the Manor in the 1570s. Therefore the fields were taken out of arable production around this time.
The site consists of a series of slight earthwork banks running down the side of the slope and smaller ditched areas within them. These banks, which are between 2 and 6m wide, define parallel, elongated areas, measuring between 70 and 95m and all approximately 20m across. These appear to be field and property boundaries. The western edge of these fields are defined by a broad bank running from TF 9720 4281 to TF 9718 4277, at which point the top/southern edge of the fields breaks off and continues to the east. Four or five fields can be seen, more possibly existed to the east although may be masked by vegetation and shadow. These boundaries run down the slope to the north.
At the top of the crest of the slope (southern end) these strips appear to be subdivided by ditched features, in particular the western two. At TF 9720 4277 the soilmark of a roughly square platform, 9m x 10m. A ditch, up to 3m wide in places, surrounds this. A ditch also continues along side the eastern bank. The next strip along also has several internal ditches. In particular a small square ditched enclosure, measuring 4m by 5m. This sits within a larger rectangular area, approximately 19m by 14m. The easternmost example appears to have ditched subdivisions towards the base of the slope, include a large rectangular area, measuring 36.5m by 10m. It seems likely that these features relate to a series of tofts and crofts, running down the slope.
These strips are situated along the slope of a spur, along the top of which there seems to be a hollow way running from TF 9726 4269 to TF 9718 4276, measuring 102m by 12.5. Although it is highly possible that this may be a natural hollow that has been exaggerated by the earthworks. This is bounded by an L-shaped bank to the southwest, running from TF 9721 4272 to TF 9716 4275 and then continues to the south towards TF 9715 4271. The bank is up to 9m wide in places. To the northwest of the site are several banks which possibly appear to be later, in particular an L-shaped bank, 5m thick, running from TF 9722 4283 to TF 9720 4281 and then continuing to TF 9717 4282, which seems to overlie the bank associated with the croft.This bank seems to link up with an existing wall, which may sit upon a continuation of the bank.
S. Massey (NMP), 6 November 2002.

March 2003. Visit.
Earthworks in good condition, under sheep grazed pasture.
H. Paterson (A&E), 10 March 2004.

Management Statement signed 26 March 2004.
See copy in file.
H. Paterson (A&E), 2 April 2004.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. OS 93.553.058.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1430 4049-50 16-APR-1946 (NMR).
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Hunting Surveys Ltd. 1969. HSL UK/69/949 0139-40 20-NOV-1969 (Norfolk SMR TF 9742B-C).
<S3>Map: 1630s. Estate Map of Stiffkey.
<S4>Documentary source: 1583. Field Book of Stiffkey Estate.

Related records - none

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