Record Details

NHER Number:51208
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of medieval hospital and chapel at Beck Hall


The moated site of a medieval hospital and chapel at Beck Hall (NHER 7215). The hospice is believed to have been founded in the reign of Henry III, and probably stood just southwest of the 18th century hall that now stands within the moat.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 02138 20797
Map Sheet:TG02SW

Full description

Site previously recorded under NHER 7215.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 31 January 2008.

The moated site of a hospital at Beck Hall.
This was a traveller's hospice.
Beck is mentioned as a village in Domesday, but not afterwards. The chapel became so rich that it took over the house of the Pied Friars in Norwich.
In 1730 T. Martin (S1) notes: 'In the parish of Billingford by Elmham may be seen the ruins of a chappell by Beck Hall, which was once a college.The Chappell is used to hang up carrion in and is called Beck from the rivulet running by it, or from Becco in Normandy'.
E. Rose (NAU), 1 August 1980.

January 1981. Field Observation.
The Billingford church scrapbook states that the hospice was founded in the reign of Henry III.
The moat remains complete and waterfilled, and there is no break in the north side as depicted on (S2).
Landscaping has taken place in the past and the high embanking on the island and the exterior may be due to this.
There are 18th/19th century brick bridges on the west and south, and the former is in poor condition.
There is no trace of the chapel.
E. Rose (NAU) 22 January 1981.

An estate map of the farm at Holkham Hall of about 1600 (S3) depicts the chapel mentioned by (S1) standing just southwest of the Hall. The site is now an open field. The map also appears to show an outer enclosure of the moat to west of the hall where farm buildings now are, and a dovecote to the north of these.
Note by R. Rickett (NAU).
E. Rose (NAU) 13 September 1982.

February 2003. Field Observation.
The moat is up to 5m wide and is waterfilled.
The new owners have carried out some dredging and clearance of the banks, which have been much neglected over the years. Part of a bridge, especially the coping stones, has been rebuilt following some collapse under heavy ivy. This has been removed on the north side but is still thick to the south.
The banks are now cleared and have a sharp V shaped profile.
H. Paterson (A&E), 14 February 2003.

February 2008. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of the main moat are visible on aerial photographs (S4-S5). An additional section of moat or a L-shaped arrangement of fishponds is also visible to the south of the main rectangular moat. This southern feature is depicted on the 1837 Billingford Tithe map (S6). This fishpond or similar feature is not marked on the 1600 Estate map (S3), although this map only depicts the main buildings and property boundaries. The main moated enclosures are clearly indicated, but it is unlikely to have shown more minor features. Given the presence of a medieval moated site at this location it seems most likely that all the earthworks date to this phase, rather than being a later post medieval addition to the site.
S. Massey (NMP), 28 February 2008.

Monument Types

  • CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOSPITAL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Post Medieval - 1600 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG0220A-F.
---Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 02 SW 6 [2].
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Billingford.
<S1>Unpublished document: Martin, T.. c. 1730. Church Notes..
<S2>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1883. First edition six inch map.
<S3>Map: About 1600. Estate map of Beck Hall Farm, Billingford.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 3G/TUD/100 5054-5 30-MAR-1946 (NHER TG 0120B, TG 0220A).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1967. MAL 67029 024-5 16-APR-1967.
<S6>Map: Pratt & Son. 1837. Billingford 1837 Tithe Map.

Related records - none

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