Record Details

NHER Number:27082
Type of record:Monument
Name:Post medieval sea defence bank


A post medieval sea defence bank can be seen as an earthwork and on aerial photographs. It encloses an area of reclaimed land to the north of and between Blakeney and Cley next the Sea. The bank is shown on Faden's map of 1797 and on other early 19th century maps.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 02822 44562
Map Sheet:TG04SW

Full description

October 2002. Norfolk NMP.
A post medieval sea defence bank can be seen on OS 1973 and 1995 aerial photographs (S1), (S2) and (S3), as well as on the RAF 1946 images (S4) and (S5). It in part encloses an area of reclaimed land/drained saltmarsh to the north of and between Blakeney and Cley-next-the-Sea. This bank runs north from Blakeney, from NGR TG0284 4413, along the side of the channel, and then, at NGR TG0297 4502, turns to run east for about 1.5km along between the saltmarsh and the reclaimed grazing land (on the landward side of it). On all the aerial photographs the bank then appears to stop at NGR TG0439 4529 on Blakeney Eye. However, a short distance to the south (at NGR TG0440 4517) sees the start of a second bank that continues along the eastern side of the reclaimed land heading southwards towards Cley, where it appears to terminate in the village at NGR TG0447 4375. Although not apparent on the aerial photograph evidence it seems likely that once these two banks were joined together, providing the sea defences for this area of grazing land. This is supported by post medieval map evidence in the form of a 1769 map of Blakeney (S6) and an 1817 plan of Blakeney Harbour (S7), where the bank appears to continue right round. On the latter this embankment is referred to as the old wall. Further short banks are also visible. Two very short banks are also visible near to the section of bank running along the edge of the channel running into Blakeney. These can be easily determined on the RAF aerial photographs and are still faintly visible on some of the later images (though have all but vanished by the time the 1995 OS photographs were taken). They are located between NGR TG0282 4476 and TG 0287 4490, and NGR TG0292 4483 and TG0294 4488. Both of these stretches of bank are visible on the OS 25in 2nd edition map (S10) and are no longer included on the modern map. Two more short banks can be seen on the 1973 OS images next to (and parallel to) the longer bank that runs south towards Cley. These are located just to the south of Blakeney Chapel between NGR TG0443 4516 and TG0443 4505.

Additional documentary evidence for the main bank(s) comes in the form of post medieval and more recent maps. The northern section of the bank, that runs from west to east, can also be seen on Faden’s 1797 Map (S8). The entirety of the embankment is shown on the two maps mentioned previously (the 1769 map of Blakeney and the 1817 plan of Blakeney harbour). As well as these, this bank can be seen on the OS 1in 1st edition map (S9), the OS 25in 2nd edition map (S10) and the current OS 1:10000 basemap (S11). On both the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps the banks appear in the same form as most of the aerial photographs. However, slight alterations to its line can be seen on the 1995 OS aerial photographs (near to Cley) and this is also evident on the current OS 1:10000 basemap
H. Clare (NMP), 16 October 2002 and 14 January 2003.

May-November 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey.
Inter-tidal survey (Environmental Zone 11).
Context 123:
A low bank (no more than 0.2m tall) was between TG 02884 44975 and TG 02839 44809. It was orientated north to south and located about to the westwards of the modern sea bank.
Context 887:
A modern sea defence bank was recorded between TG 04421 45282 and TG 04420 45189. It may have concealed an earlier bank or banks.
Context 917:
A modern sea bank was located on the edge of Blakeney Freshes between TG 04381 45181 and TG 04411 45135. It may overlie earlier examples; maps from 1769 and 1817 show a bank in the same place (S11).
See assessment report (S12) for further details.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.421).
J. Allen (NLA), 19 April 2005. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2019.

Monument Types

  • SEA DEFENCES (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1973. OS/73256 081-2 06-JUN-1973.
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1973. OS/73212 022 01-JUN-1973.
<S3>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1995. OS/95567 126-7 21-JUN-1995.
<S4>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1701 4073-4 27-AUG-1946.
<S5>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1701 3066-9 27-AUG-1946.
<S6>Map: Corfield, P.J.. 1927. ‘An Exact Survey of Blakeney with part of Towns Adjacent, Executed by William and Corba Cranefield, 1769’ Copy of Survey..
<S7>Map: Leak. 1817. Plan of Blakeney Harbour.
<S8>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S9>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1824-1836. Ordnance Survey First Edition 1 inch.. Sheet 68.
<S10>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-7. Ordnance Survey 25 inch 2nd edition (revised 1902-7). Sheets IV.15, IV.16, IX.3, IX.4.
<S11>Unpublished Document: Ringwood, I.. 2003. NSCS 3 - Norfolk and Suffolk Coastal Survey - Documentary Evidence - Norfolk.
<S12>Unpublished Contractor Report: Robertson, D., Crawley, P., Barker, A., and Whitmore, S. 2005. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 1045.

Related records - none

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