Record Details

NHER Number:42091
Type of record:Monument
Name:Post medieval duck decoy and possible medieval peat cutting

Summary

This is the probable location of one of the earliest duck decoys in the country, established in the reign of James I (1603 to 25), previously thought to be located at Lambridge Covert; see NHER 13293 for discussion. The site consists of a roughly crescent-shaped dark soilmark that corresponds with the location of decoy pond marked on Faden’s map of 1797. It is also possible that this decoy pond was originally a medieval peat cutting.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 43904 24699
Map Sheet:TG42SW
Parish:SEA PALLING, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

September 2005. Norfolk NMP.
The site of a post medieval duck decoy is visible on aerial photographs, within the Brograve Levels, Sea Palling (S1). This is the probable location of one of the earliest duck decoys in the country, established in the reign of James I (1603 to 25), previously thought to be located at Lambridge Covert, 1.6km to the northwest; see NHER 13293 for discussion. The site consists of a roughly crescent-shaped feature that corresponds with the location of decoy pond marked on Faden’s map of 1797 (S2). It is also possible that this decoy pond was originally a medieval peat cutting. The site is centred on TG 4390 2467.

Waxham is known to be the location of one of the earliest duck decoys in the country, established in the reign of James I and created by William Woodhouse of Waxham Hall. In a recent work on duck decoys (S3) the Faden decoy has been assumed to mark the site of the early Woodhouse venture. The decoy on Faden is in an isolated location on the Waxham Marshes and this fits well with the description of the Waxham Decoy given by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey in the late nineteenth century that states it was ‘in a large marsh near the sea-coast’. When he visited the site of the decoy the marsh was recorded as having been drained, and the site of the pool planted with osiers (S4).

The former decoy is visible as soilmarks and cropmarks of a wetter and darker soil within the marshes, measuring approximately 450m by 225m. The shape and character of the cropmark response over this feature would imply that this was the site of a former water-filled cut and is extremely reminiscent of the nearby medieval peat extraction sites, such as NHER 35363. It is therefore possible that a former medieval peat cutting was later used as a duck decoy after flooding, possibly having artificial pipes added to it in the early 17th Century. The roughly crescent shaped soilmark does have a number of curved projections around the edge of the feature, in particular at TG 4405 2461. It seems likely that these are the pipes for the decoy. A channel can be seen to lead into this Broad or decoy from the northwest (NHER 42092).
S. Massey (NMP), 31 September 2005.

Monument Types

  • PEAT CUTTING? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DECOY POND (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 5144-5 04-JAN-1943 (NMR).
<S2>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S3>Unpublished document: Thorogood, P.. 2000. Duck Decoys of Norfolk (UEA BA Dissertation ref HISH 3P2Y).
<S4>Monograph: Payne-Gallwey, Sir R.. 1886. The Book of Duck Decoys. Their Construction, Management and History..

Related records

13293Related to: Lambridge Covert (Monument)

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