Record Details

NHER Number:42127
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval to post medieval clay and peat extraction

Summary

A large area of medieval to post medieval peat and clay extraction and associated drainage channels are visible on aerial photographs, along the former alluvial fen and common, on the border of Sea Palling and Lessingham. These features are visible as low earthworks, soilmarks and water-filled hollows on 1940s aerial photographs. Two circular features may be the remains of post medieval stack stands for drying peat or associated with drainage pumps. This area of land is marked as ‘Sea Common’ on Faden’s map of 1797 and would have formed part of the alluvial grazing levels associated with the upper Thurne Valley.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 41366 27135
Map Sheet:TG42NW
Parish:LESSINGHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK
SEA PALLING, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

September 2005. Norfolk NMP.
A large area of medieval to post medieval peat and clay extraction and associated drainage channels are visible on aerial photographs, along the former alluvial fen and common, on the border of Sea Palling and Lessingham (S1 to S3). These features are visible as low earthworks, soilmarks and water-filled hollows on 1940s aerial photographs. Two circular features may be the remains of post medieval stack stands or associated with drainage pumps. This area of land is marked as ‘Sea Common’ on Faden’s map of 1797 and would have formed part of the alluvial grazing levels associated with the upper Thurne Valley. A meandering channel is depicted as running through the centre of the common in 1797 (S4). The site is centred on TG 4132 2714.

In the January 1943 aerial photographs (S1) the whole of the site is covered by clearly defined wetter and darker areas, the larger of which appear to have standing water in them, in particular at TG 4111 2725. The extent of these areas has been marked rather than being mapped as large cut features on the NMP map. Comparison of these types of features in other areas, such on the Poor Allotment and Cotton’s Marsh, Hickling to the south (NHER 32157), suggests that they are medieval, and possibly post medieval, peat and clay extraction areas, the larger areas of extraction later becoming flooded and forming the distinctive Broads lakes. At the northern, seaward end of Sea Common on Faden’s map (S4) an area of open water is marked and is probably a broad resulting from clay extraction (NHER 43428). So it is possible that the darker and wetter areas further down the alluvial fen are also the products of medieval extraction.

The southern part of the site is characterised by sinuous drainage channels and a series of angular and elongated shallow cuts into the ground surface, often 4 to 8m across, particularly centred on TG 4127 2703. Similar features are visible at TG 4128 2725, TG 4136 2753 and TG 4163 2728. It seems most likely that these are the remains of turf or surface peat cuttings, probably dating to the post medieval period. The sinuous drains visible on the aerial photographs are likely to be the remnants of the meandering channel which is marked running through the centre of Sea Common on Faden’s map (S4). Crossing the top of the sinuous drains in this area is a slightly raised bank, 6m wide, running from TG 4112 2705 to TG 4116 2690 (S1). This is likely to have been a raised embankment leading onto the common across the wetter fen areas. A group of similar, although less clear, features is visible as soilmarks to the north at TG 4157 2737 (S1, S3). These appear to be cut by later drainage channels in places.

At TG 4141 2740 is a small sub-circular ring ditch, measuring 11m in diameter. Given the location, this is likely to be a post medieval stack stand for drying peat or similar drainage feature, although there appears to be a central pit and this could indicate a drainage pump site. A semi-circular bank is visible at TG 4128 2718 and it is possible that this is a similar feature.
S. Massey (NMP), 30 September 2005.

Monument Types

  • CLAY PIT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PEAT CUTTING (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PEAT EXTRACTION SITE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRAINAGE MILL? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PEAT STAND? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STACK STAND? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1943. RAF AC/161 5138-40 04-JAN-1943 (NMR).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 540/690 5314-5 11-MAR-1952 (NMR).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72053 199-200 23-MAR-1972 (NMR).
<S4>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.

Related records - none

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