Record Details

NHER Number:27810
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of World War Two coastal defences


A group of World War Two coastal defences are located on Gramborough Hill and visible on RAF aerial photographs from 1940, 1946 and 1952. The site consists of gun emplacements, pillboxes, trenches and other defensive structures.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 08589 44157
Map Sheet:TG04SE

Full description

October 2002. Norfolk NMP.
A complex of World War Two military structures and defensive positions visible on RAF aerial photographs from 1940 (S1), 1946 (S2) and 1952 (S3). The site also includes several structures recorded under separate NHER numbers, such as a pillbox, NHER 16006, and a spigot mortar emplacement, NHER 32478, and the whole site is surrounded to the north by a line of scaffolding, NHER 27807. The main areas of defences are positioned on the north-eastern edge of the hillock. These include a large rectangular pillbox or gun emplacement at TG 0870 4423, measuring 8.5m by 4.5m. To the immediate east of this is another rectangular structure at TG 0870 4422, measuring 6.5m by 3m. Two 5m square pillboxes, possibly type 20’s, are located at TG 0872 4422 and TG 0867 4423. These structures were not visible on the 1940 (S1) or 1946 (S2) aerial photographs as they must have been dug into the side of the slope. They are only clearly visible on the 1952 (S3) aerial photographs when the land around them has been eroded away by the action of the sea. On the 1946 aerial photographs (S2) a trapezoidal structure is visible on the seaward side of the scaffolding. It is located at TG 0870 4425 and measures approximately 5.5m by 4.5. The function of this structure is not clear, also it is possible that this is not its original position. Although another rectangular structure is also located to the seaward side of the scaffolding at TG 0874 4423, measuring 4.5m by 2.5m. Both of these structures may nave been pillboxes or similar defensive points. To the west of the site, on top of the sea bank (NHER 27805) is a 4m square structure, possibly a pillbox, located at TG 0856 4422, next to the spigot mortar (NHER 32478). To the east of this are two linear banks, running from TG 0856 4421 to TG 0858 4422 (21m by 1m) and from TG 0857 4421 to TG 0858 4421 (10m by 1m). A small square structure is located to the east of these at TG 0858 4412, measuring 2m across. Also within this area is an L-shaped stretch of wall, 13m by 8m and up to 1.5m wide. The walls run from TG 0858 4418 to TG 0858 4419 to TG 0857 4419. A small rectangular structure is also located near to the remains of a post medieval building (NHER 27809) and the pillbox (NHER 16006). It is centred on TG 0861 4415 and measures 5m by 3m. The site is covered with evidence of the digging of practice trenches. These are both zigzag and castellated in plan. Many of these are likely to date to the Second World War, however, some are known to be World War One in date. A Roman occupation site (NHER 6214) also covers this hill. Investigations in 1932 revealed Romano-British pottery within the upcast and trenches created during World War I. There are several clusters of these trenches. At TG 0869 4419 is a large group of castellated and zigzag trenches and banks, which are very clear on the 1946 aerial photographs. However they are exceptionally clear on the 1940 aerial photographs (S1). This may be because they are very recent to 1940, however, it is possible that these are the remains of the World War I trenches, possibly investigated in 1932. Another concentration is at TG 0855 4419, these are mainly zigzag in plan. Also at TG 0858 4403 are a tight cluster of small slit trenches. The south and west of the site appears to be surrounded by a system of 3m wide linear marks. It is of a similar width to the lines of scaffolding to the north and joins this feature to the north west. However no definite trace of a structure can clearly be seen. It is likely that this was a barrier of either scaffolding or barbed wire, which may have been removed by 1946 (S2). This feature runs in sections in a semi-circle from TG 0847 4431 to TG 0861 4411 and then a further curvilinear section runs to the south to TG 0865 4410. The structures and earthworks on this site are predominantly World War Two in date, however, this is likely to have incorporated existing World War I features. Any traces of the Roman activity (NHER 6214) have been masked by the later defensive structures from the aerial perspectives.
S. Massey (NMP), 21 March 2003.

December 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey.
Land-based survey; Cley, Salthouse and Kelling fresh-marshes, Context 8:
World War Two site including a concrete structure, a spigot mortar emplacement and two large hollows and several ditches. Built into Gramborough Hall, between TG 08520 44160 and TG 08649 44153.
See assessment report (S4) for further details.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.421).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 5 December 2007. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2019.

Monument Types

  • PRACTICE TRENCH (World War One to World War Two - 1914 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SLIT TRENCH (World War One to World War Two - 1914 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BEACH DEFENCE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BEACH DEFENCE BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. RAF 268A/BR/183 VB1-3 17-DEC-1940 (NMR).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1701 3041-2 27-AUG-1946 (NMR).
<S3>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 58/844 5022-3 21-MAR-1952 (NMR).
<S4>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

41014Part of: Post medieval and World War Two features and structures (Monument)

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