Record Details

NHER Number:3395
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval manorial earthwork of Scales Hall Manor, Middleton Towers


The medieval moat that surrounds Middleton Towers is within an outer enclosure that is now visible as earthworks. In the northeast corner of the outer enclosure are the earthwork remains of two medieval fishponds, and other earthwork features within the enclosure probably relate to the post medieval gardens. A series of further enclosures lie to the east of Middleton Towers. These enclosures represent the medieval manorial site that passed to the Scales family in the 12th century. A rectangular building platform is probably the remains of a medieval dovecote, and the site of an earlier, circular dovecote has been recorded on the site. The earthworks of possible medieval tofts, crofts and associated enclosures and field boundaries are also present. Fragments of medieval and post medieval pottery have been recovered from the site.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6719 1744
Map Sheet:TF61NE

Full description

Banks and ditches of deserted medieval village around Middleton Towers.
Reported by J. Webb.
See (S1).

Unit aerial photograph shows these earthworks including a small rectangular ?moat to east of Middleton Towers, and possible strip cultivation.
D.A. Edwards (NAU), 17 June 1980.

Owner believes the marks on east side of moat of Middleton Towers represent a former east extension of the moat. Outer area of cropmarks south of Tower Lane not visible on ground; not possible to visit rest of area at time.
E. Rose (NAU), 17 June 1981.

(S2) suggests fish ponds.
E. Rose (NAU).

Regular depressions in small field to east of house are damp and certainly suggest fishponds. Owner says they held water earlier in the year. Other earthworks including linear depressions well marked. Field in good condition, grazed by cattle, with hay crop sometimes taken off prior to grazing. No poaching.
H. Paterson (A&E), 13 May 1993.

1995. Earthwork Survey.
Outer enclosure, fishponds, garden features, toft and other enclosure, with 2 rather odd mounds or platforms have been recorded on 1:1000 earthwork survey. Description included in (S3) in file.
Site extends to south to incorporate small area of grassland, but all other areas of original site to east and southeast have been ploughed.
Pottery: 2 glazed Grimston and 1 unglazed medieval body sherds in enclosure north of road, 1 glazed Grimston, 1 unglazed Grimston, 3 unglazed medieval, 1 copper alloy paper clip rivet enclosing iron sheet, south of road. Identified by A. Rogerson (NLA).
See report (S3) for plan and further details. Site included in (S7) and survey also noted in (S18).
B. Cushion (A&E), March 1995.

Area of earthworks coincides with Towers Park, which is Historic Parkland as recorded by NCC, but not included on (S4).
Stated to entirely date from 1860 to 1885 with pleasure grounds round moat. South area now ploughed but remaining park, as stated above, pasture. Some recent exotic planting but impressive group of pollarded oaks.
See (S5) for details.
E. Rose (NLA), 30 August 1996.

25 July 1996. NLA air photography.
Area of cropmarks to southeast of site, consisting of several double-ditched linears and a large curvilinear feature with a 'positive anomaly' interior. This may be some sort of garden feature relating to the Hall, however, it may relate to earlier activity.
S. Massey (NLA), 22 November 2001.

Moat remains weed free, water filled. Earthworks in pasture field shows slight mole activity, no erosion by stock.
H. Paterson (A&E), 23 February 1998.

Scheduled 1999.
See detailed description in (S6) in file, which suggests two of the earthworks are remains of dovecots.
E. Rose (NLA), 10 March 1999.

February 2008. Norfolk NMP
Earthworks associated with the park and gardens at Middleton Towers and enclosures associated with medieval to post medieval settlement and agriculture are visible on aerial photographs (S8-S17). The moat and hall are recorded as NHER 3393. The area of this site has been extended to the south to include all other earthworks surrounding the hall. Those closest to the hall have been surveyed on the ground (S3, S7) and are recorded in greater detail than is possible from aerial photographs, particularly where they are obscured by vegetation.

Immediately to the east of the moat is a sub-rectangular pond that has been interpreted as a possible fishpond. Adjacent to it is a small rectangular enclosure with internal dimensions of 19m by 12m, which may also have formed part of a fishpond complex. To the northeast of these features is a 12m square, ditched enclosure. It contains a raised platform that is divided into three roughly equal-sized rectangular areas separated by narrow channels. An incomplete curvilinear enclosure is attached to the northern side of the enclosure. The square enclosure has been interpreted as the possible site of a dovecote (S6-S7).

The area further to the east and south of the hall is dominated by earthworks of rectilinear enclosures and field boundaries of medieval to post medieval date. Some smaller enclosures, including one at TF 6697 1738, may have related to tofts or crofts (S5). To the north of the hall is a group of roughly west to east aligned linear and curvilinear ditches. It is possible that some of these continue a causeway or road from further to the west (NHER 31199). However, it is most likely that they form part of the northern boundary of the hall grounds. On the lawn immediately to the south of the hall is a low circular earthwork mound. It has a diameter of just less than 12m and appears to be surrounded by a narrow ring ditch. To its east is an extant circular pond and beyond the main drive a circular ring bank earthwork has previously been recorded (S3, S7) but was not visible on aerial photographs. It is likely that both of the circular earthworks relate to garden features of post medieval date.
J. Albone (NMP), 11 January 2008

Monument Types

  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • MACULA (Unknown date)
  • MOUND (Unknown date)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROFT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CURVILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GARDEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GARDEN FEATURE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • VESSEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Archive: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S2>Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 61 NE 20 [4].
<S3>Unpublished Report: Cushion, B. 1995. Middleton Towers SMR3393 & 3395(part). Earthwork Survey Report.
<S4>Scheduling Record: English Heritage. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England..
<S5>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. Inventory of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Norfolk..
<S6>Unpublished Document: English Heritage. 1999. Schedule Report.
<S7>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. pp 117-119.
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 3G/TUD/UK/51 5132-3 31-JAN-1946 (NHER TF 6617C / TF 6716A).
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TF 6617A (NLA 13/ADB23) 12-JUL-1974.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TF 6617B-C (NLA 13/ADE16-7) 12-JUL-1974.
<S11>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1978. NHER TF 6617J-K (NLA 69/AMF17-8) 21-SEP-1978.
<S12>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1981. NHER TF 6617Q-R (NLA 115/ARD6-7) 10-AUG-1981.
<S13>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TF 6717A (NLA 13/ADB24) 12-JUL-1974.
<S14>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1978. NHER TF 6717B-E (NLA 69/AMF12-6) 21-SEP-1978.
<S15>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (AAF). 1977. NHER TF 6717G-H (AAF 119/12-3) 26-JUN-1977.
<S16>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1984. NHER TF 6717J-M (NLA 139/AUF10-3) 09-FEB-1984.
<S17>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1971. OS/71013 66-7 12-MAR-1971.
<S18>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1996. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1995. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt III pp 397-412. p 403.

Related records

3393Related to: Middleton Towers (Building)

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