Record Details

NHER Number:39353
Type of record:Monument
Name:Post medieval water meadows


Earthwork remains of post medieval water meadows observed during a site visit are visible on aerial photographs of this area. Floated water meadows of this type comprised a system of channels and drains to create a managed flow of water across the surface of the meadow. This encouraged growth of the grass early in the year to provide spring grazing for livestock.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3491 2590
Map Sheet:TG32NW

Full description

Earthworks in field immediately to the east of Tonnage Bridge.
A strip along the north edge of the field around 17m wide, has no earthworks; but to the south of this there are low ridges, ranged east to west. The first is around 10m wide: the other eight are 7m wide. They superficially resemble ridge and furrow but are unlikely to be, due to the floodplain location. They are probably the remains of an irrigated watermeadow, fed from the adjacent canalised River Ant which stands a little above the level of the adjoining land, although no surviving evidence of sluices etc could be found. If fed from the canal, the meadow must presumably post date its construction in 1825; rather late for an irrigated meadow, but not impossibly so.
Taken from (S1).
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 May 2003.

February 2004, Norfolk NMP
Mapping for the Norfolk NMP has revealed that the field originally recorded above, which is centred on TG 3483 2601, actually formed part of a larger group of water meadows covering seven fields. The new centre point for this group of fields is TG 3488 2592. These remains were visible as extant drains and earthworks on RAF aerial photographs dating from 1946 (S2). The main part of the group comprised the southernmost five fields, which contained internal ditches on a northwest to southeast alignment. A further two fields with north to south internal ditches form the northern part of the group. An external bank marks the southwest side of the water meadows between TG 3471 2586 and 3475 2576. A further bank continues along the southeast side from TG 3476 2573 to TG 3512 2592. The majority of the fields within this group were marked as marsh on the first edition Ordnance Survey map (25 inch 1887) (S3). Three of the fields, centred on TG 3483 2601, TG 3483 2609 and TG 3496 2607, appear to have been in arable cultivation in 1963 (S4), but all fields had reverted to grassland by 1988 (S5). Further ditches and banks shown on post 1946 photographs (e.g. (S6) relate to continued drainage activity and were not mapped. The water meadows appear to respect the course of the river to their southeast but it is still not certain whether they pre or post date the North Walsham and Dilham Canal.

To the east of the water meadow, a ditch flanked by an intermittent bank on both sides follows a sinuous route between TG 3500 2580 and TG 3513 2591. This ditch forms the parish boundary between Dilham and Brumstead and appears to represent an earlier course of the river at this point. It is marked as an extant channel on (S3).
J. Albone (NMP), 05 February 2004

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WATER MEADOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Unpublished Document: Williamson, T.. 2002. Report for Broads Authority.
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 5088-9 09-JUL-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 3526A-B).
<S3>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1887. Ordnance Survey first edition 25" (1887) Sheet XL.4.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1963. RAF 543/2331 (F22) 0007-8 25-JUL-1963 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 0806 11-AUG-1988 (NCC 3901).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72111 062-3 02-MAY-1972.

Related records - none

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