Record Details

NHER Number:5747
Type of record:Monument
Name:Thetford Castle: Iron Age hillfort and medieval motte and bailey castle

Summary

The substantial upstanding earthworks northwest of Castle Lane and north of Market Street, known as Castle Hill, are the remains of an Iron Age fort and a medieval motte and bailey castle. Little is known about the Iron Age settlement. Excavation across the ramparts in 1962 confirmed that both the outer ditch and the outer rampart and ditch were constructed in the Iron Age. Limited investigation in the bailey at this time also confirmed that there was Iron Age occupation in the interior, recording pits, gullies and post holes. However, much more extensive investigations would be required in order to ascertain the nature of this occupation. Additional excavation between 1985 and 1986 east of Castle Lane, within the grounds of Ford Place (NHER 5940), has recorded further Iron Age features within the projected line of the earthworks.
The motte and bailey castle is believed to have been constructed shortly after the Norman Conquest, either by Ralph Guader, Earl of East Anglia until his rebellion in 1076, or by Roger Bigod, his successor as Earl. At the time of the Domesday survey, Thetford was among the six largest and most populous towns in the country and would have been dominated by the castle, which was situated in a position to control important crossings of the rivers Thet and Ouse. The motte consists of a large circular mound encircled by a ditch. At the summit of the mound, a sub-rectangular platform surrounded by a bank of chalk rubble has been identified. It has been suggested that the platform may have supported a timber tower and the bank may have been the footing for a wall or a timber palisade. To the east of the motte is an area of open, level ground which formed the bailey. The north side of the motte is enclosed by a very large double bank and ditch, extending from Rampart Way to Castle Lane. The bailey was entered via a causeway across the northeast side of the earthworks. A sketch plan drawn by Tom Martin in the early 18th century depicts a bank extending east of Castle Lane and turning south, enclosing a sub-rectangular building. These remains were leveled around 1772, but the in-filled inner and outer ditches likely remain as buried features. Remains of the outer ditch were observed within a foundation trench east of Castle Lane in 1987, confirming that the earthworks ran southeastwards to the river Thet. The early 18th century drawing also depicts continuation of the bank to the southwest of the motte. The southern side of the castle would have been protected by the river Thet and its marshy flood plain.

Images

  • Thetford Castle from the air  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • Earthwork Survey of Thetford Castle  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TL 8742 8283
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:THETFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

THE LISTED BUILDINGS PREVIOUSLY INDCLUDED IN THIS RECORD ARE NOW RECORDED UNDER THE FOLLOWING RECORDS:
NHER 46353: 51 Old Market Street
NHER 46390: Thetford Gaol
NHER 46479: Gothic House, 12 Old Market Street
NHER 46491: Dolphin Inn
NHER 46507: 8-10 Old Market Street

Castle Hill.
The substantial upstanding earthworks northwest of Castle Lane and north of Market Street known as Castle Hill are the remains of an Iron Age fort and a medieval motte and bailey castle.
Little is known about the Iron Age settlement. Excavation across the ramparts in 1962 confirmed that both the outer ditch and the outer rampart and ditch were constructed in the Iron Age. The excavator also suggested that there may have been an inner rampart at this time which was destroyed by later alterations, but this remains tentative. Investigation within the bailey in 1962 recorded Iron Age pits, gullies and post holes, confirming occupation within the interior. However, much more extensive investigations would be required in order to ascertain the nature of the occupation. Additional excavation between 1985 and 1986 east of Castle Lane, within the grounds of Ford Place (NHER 5940), has recorded further Iron Age features within the projected line of the earthworks.
The motte and bailey castle is believed to have been constructed shortly after the Norman Conquest, either by Ralph Guader, Earl of East Anglia until his rebellion in 1076, or by Roger Bigod, his successor as Earl (S4). At the time of the Domesday survey, Thetford was among the six largest and most populous towns in the country and would have been dominated by the castle, which was also situated in a position to control important crossings of the rivers Thet and Ouse (S4). A pipe roll of AD 1172-1173 records the destruction of a castle in that year, but it remains uncertain whether this refers to Castle Hill or to Red Castle (NHER 5746) located to the northwest, south of the Little Ouse.
The motte consists of a large circular mound encircled by a ditch. At the summit of the mound, a sub-rectangular platform surrounded by a bank of chalk rubble has been identified. It has been suggested that the platform may have supported a timber tower and the bank may have been the footing for a wall or a timber palisade (S4). To the east of the motte is an area of open, level ground which formed the bailey. The north side of the motte is enclosed by a very large double bank and ditch, extending from Rampart Way to Castle Lane. The bailey was entered via a causeway across the northeast side of the earthworks. A sketch plan drawn by Tom Martin in the early 18th century (S34) depicts a bank extending east of Castle Lane and turning south, enclosing a sub-rectangular building. These remains were leveled around 1772 (S35), but the in-filled inner and outer ditches likely remain as buried features. Remains of the outer ditch were observed within a foundation trench east of Castle Lane in 1987, confirming that the earthworks ran southeastwards to the river Thet. The early 18th century drawing (S34) also depicts continuation of the bank to the southwest of the motte. The southern side of the castle would have been protected by the river Thet and its marshy flood plain.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 31 October 2008.

Pre 1748. Casual Find.
(1760 on Clarke’s original card, altered to ‘before 1748 see Martin’)
Two Iron Age bone 'weaving' combs were recovered while digging under the rampart on Castle Hill in order to raise the surface of some adjacent meadows [11]. One comb has an oblong head with ring and dot decoration and 9 teeth while the other has an oblong head with one ring and dot on it and eight teeth. They were ound in bed of sand at least three feet under the rampart.
See (S1), (S2), (S3, p 16) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 31 October 2008.

26 June 1924. Scheduled.
Castle Hill, Thetford. A central mound 80 feet in vertical height and 1000 feet in circumference, with a double line of ramparts and ditches on the north and northeast. A deep ditch surrounds the mound.
See (S4) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 23 October 2008.

1962. Excavation.
A program of excavation was carried out in order to invesitgate three areas of Castle Hill: the outer earthworks, the bailey, and the hollow area on top of the motte.
Two trenches were placed across the ramparts in the northeast of the site in order to determine whether the ramparts and ditch were part of an Iron Age enclosure as had been previously suggested. A small trench was placed at the maximum height of the rampart. This exposed the chalk rubble and loam layers of the rampart, which survived to a height of 2.7m above an old ground surface, but the trench was too small to allow detailed interpretation. A much larger trench was excavated to the east, providing a section across the outer rampart and ditch as well as a further strip northeast of the ditch, and a construction sequence was established.
The first phase of the earthworks consisted of an outer rampart of chalk and loam resting on an old ground surface with a ditch to the rear. The only dating evidence for the ground surface was a single Beaker sherd, although a Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age sherd was also recovered from the base of the outer rampart and a residual arrowhead and flakes of this period were recovered from other layers. Only one sherd of Iron Age pottery was recovered from the underlying ditch fills, but an Iron Age date appears most likely. R. R. Clarke suggested that an inner rampart may also have existed but was destroyed by later constructions (S6). The outer ditch has also been attributed to this phase of construction. Recording of this ditch remained incomplete due to a collapse of the northwestern section, but it appeared to be cut to a depth of 3.3m from the surface of the natural chalk and was approximately 4.5m wide at the base. Its lowest fills consisted of weathered material and included part of an Iron Age jar as well as 11 fragments of red deer antler with indications of manufacture, while its principal fills suggest graual weathering, including Iron Age sherds and a fragment of an Early Roman bowl towards the base, Middle Saxon Ipswich ware higher up, and medieval and post medieval sherds towards the top. An angled stake hole was recorded in section on the inner lip of each side of the ditch, but no intervening stake holes were identified. R. R. Clarke (S6) had suggested that the outer ditch may have been shallower during this first phase, based on a change in slope halfway down the inner face, but later interpretation of the records (S3) has suggested that this is unlikely.
In the second phase of activity the outer rampart was truncated at the rear and the rear ditch was cut back. The upper fills of the rear ditch contained Iron Age pottery, one sherd of early medieval pottery, and medieval or post medieval brick and therefore the truncation of the rear of the rampart is believed to have been in or after the early medieval period. The front of the rampart also appears to have been truncated either by additional ditch digging or weathering.
The outer ditch would have been partially filled due to weathering, and Clarke's hypothetical phase one inner rampart would likely have remained in use. Sometime later, the inner ditch was filled with rubble and the outer rampart was extended over it by the addition of layers of chalk rubble, creating the present outer rampart. The existing inner rampart and ditch were likely also constructed at this time.
At the extreme northeast of the trench, beyond the earthworks, three large possible foundations were encountered. These consisted of rectangular blocks of chalk rubble which cut into the old ground surface and are likely of medieval or later date.
Four small trenches were excavated within the bailey, west of Castle Lane, in order to identify any evidence for occupation. Several Iron Age and medieval features were preserved below layers of chalk rubble in the southernmost trenches, but unfortunately these cuttings were not large enough to allow for interpretations of their plans and stratigraphy. An Iron Age pit and gully were identified within the northernmost trench along with four undated post holes. These features were cut into the natural chalk and were overlain by layers containing both Iron Age and early medieval pottery. The pit contained ten fragments of burnt daub including several examples with wattle impressions, indicating a nearby structure. These three trenches also yielded two Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age flint arrowheads, eleven sherds of Late Neolithic to Bronze Age pottery, and several flint flakes. The final trench was excavated in order to investigate an area of parch marks, but these appear to have been caused by two large chalk blocks situated immediately below the turf. These overlaid soil yielding medieval pottery sherds, but no feature were identified.
A single trench was excavated on top of the motte in order to investigate a 3m deep hollow previously identified. The lip of the hollow was demonstrated to consist of chalk rubble and the central hollow yielded Stamford ware, early medieval pottery, and post medieval pottery. It remains uncertain what kind of structure, if any, may have existed.
See (S3), (S5), (S6), (S7), (S21), (S27) and (S41) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 22 October 2008.

1970-1977. Casual Find.
A worked flint flake and scraper and a pottery sherd were recovered from the castle earthworks [1]. The pottery fragment was identified as a rim sherd from a large medieval storage jar with thumb pressed decoration (unglazed grey fabric).
See note in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 August 2008.

1978. Casual Find.
Gun flints and 17th century earthenware was recovered in a garden at the rear of Ford Street in the former bailey area [2]. The earthenware included a watering can top, bowls, and cooking pots.
See note in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 7 October 2008.

1978. Bore Holes.
A series of bore holes were dug near Pike Lane, in the area of destroyed earthworks.
Bore Hole 1: 2.70m made ground incorporating chalk, flints and brick rubble. Firm chalk to 4.50m, flint, and brown sandy soil (made ground). Putty to 8.50m, hard chalk and flints. Medium hard chalk with occasional flints to 9.50m. Groundwater encountered at 8.50m
Bore Hole 2: Identical to above, except the uppermost layer of made ground stopped at 2.50m.
Bore Hole 3: Dark brown topsoil with chalk, flints and brick to 1.00m. Firm light brown sandy soil with chalk fragments and occasional flints to 4.00m. Lower layers identical to Bore Hole 1.
Bore Hole 4: Topsoil to 0.60m. Firm chalk, flints, and brown sandy clay (made ground) to 2.50m. Firm dark brown sandy soil with particles of chalk and gravel (made ground) to 3.00m. Firm chalk, flints, and brown soil (made ground) to 6.00m. Firm to medium hard chalk with flints to 7.00m. No groundwater.
Bore Hole 5: Identical to Bore Hole 4 except that the second and third layers of made ground were continuous.
See (S8) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

18 August 1980. Field Observation.
Groundworks for development of an area fronting Ford Street, close to the projected line of the ramparts, were observed [3]. Footings for a new building were dug to a depth of 0.80m to 1.00m. Trench sections revealed horizontal layers of disturbed soil but no traces of any ditch, rampart, or other archaeological feature. No pottery was recovered from the spoil heaps.
A further section was revealed alongside a brick cellar wall from a previous building. This was exposed to a depth of about 2m below the modern ground level and showed disturbed soils resting on chalk (presumably natural) at a depth of about 1.30m.
See list in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

1985-6. Excavation at Ford Place (NHER 5940).
Excavations within the gardens at Ford Place demonstrated that the Iron Age earthworks did not go through this area as had previously been suggested. It now appears more likely that the earthworks followed the line along the north side of Old Market Street, as suggested by R. R. Clarke. It has also been suggested that there may not have been ditches on the south side of the castle, but this is less likely.
See (S9) for further details.
E. Rose (NAU), 7 March 1986.

1986. Test Pitting.
Several test holes were dug at the junction of Pike Lane and Guildhall Street, at the presumed western extent of the original earthworks, prior to development of this area. These were located to the southwest of the area developed (piled) in 1978 (see above). This work was not observed, but contractors stated that ‘the site was made up ground.’ Further piling for new buildings is to take place in the future.
Information from note by E. Rose in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

1986.
A management plan has been proposed for the Castle Mound in order to control natural regeneration of vegetation in the area and stem erosion of the mound. Works are to include the construction of wooden groyne steps to the summit of the mound, installation of information panels, and the construction of additional paths and recreation facilities.
See (S10) and (S11) for further details.
See also press cuttings (S22-S26) and (S28-S31).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 22 October 2008.

March 1987. Bore Hole [4].
A single borehole was dug immediately northwest of 9 Old Market Street in order to investigate subsidence. The sample demonstrated made up ground to a depth of 2.5m below the present ground surface. This depth of soil indicates that it is likely ditch fill and the sample was likely along the line of the defences. This suggests that the earthworks continued southwestwards, meeting the River Thet, and did not form an oval circuit around Castle Hill.
See (S12) and (S3, p 27) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

2 April 1987. Field Observation.
The monument was inspected following a gale on 27 March. Beech trees had been blown over on the north rampart and on the motte, at points marked A and B on plan in file. Broken chalk formed a scree and skin of both rampart and motte, and both had a body composed of a mixture of sandy loam and small fragments of chalk. The holes were up to 1m deep.
Information from note by J. J. Wymer (July 1987) in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

August and September 1987. (Context 14)
Groundworks for the construction of a new building to the rear of Gothic House (NHER 46479) were observed. This work was within the area of the original garden of the house. Made ground was revealed to a depth of about 1.5m and one pit containing 19th to 20th century rubbish was recorded to a depth of just over 2m. A small quantity of 16th century to modern pottery was recovered as well as 18th century and later bottle glass and numerous animal bones. One possible Iron Age sherd was recovered. The depth of made ground is likely the result of early gravel digging and later back-filling.
See (S13), (S3, Pp 27-8), and description in file for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 22 October 2008.

26 August 1987.
Trenches for the footings of a new house in a former garden at Riverside were observed by J. Wymer. All spoil from the groundworks had been removed and no artefacts were recovered. However, the lip of a wide ditch was observed within the foundation trench for the northeast-southwest wall of the new house. This feature had been cut through the natural chalk and although it was only exposed to a depth of 0.75m the fill consisted of a chalky silt with flints which resembled the make-up of the castle ramparts observed earlier in the year following uprooting of several trees in a gale. This ditch appears to be roughly in line with the outer ditch of the castle, and it has been suggested that it is a continuation of the castle ditch, possibly back-filled with material from a destroyed rampart. The same ditch lip was also seen in the trench for the rear of the house.
See (S14), (S15), and (S3, p 28) for further details.
Information from note by J. J. Wymer (November 1987) in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

14 October 1987. Field Observation.
Groundworks for the installation of a new building within a former car park at the corner of Pike Lane (Context 10) were observed by A. Davison [5]. A sherd of Grimston Thetford ware with applied strip and an early medieval sherd were recovered from the spoil heap.
Information from note by A. Rogerson (22 October 1987) in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

22 October 1987. Field Observation.
Additional trees have been blown down by gales. All of the larger trees on the motte and banks have been felled, but these did not create holes as large as those observed in April (see above). Restoration work has begun to repair erosion damage to the earthworks. A new set of wood and clay steps have been constructed on the motte and erosion holes are to be filled with brick rubble. Inspection of the rubble notes that it included a large lump of reused limestone. The source of the rubble is unknown.
The top of the motte remains basin shaped as recorded in the 19th century. The nature and origin of a small bank (about 0.25m high) bounding a rectangular area of grass north of the earthworks which is marked on the 1:25 000 OS map remains problematic.
Information from note by E. Rose (22 October 1987) in file.
During the site visit, six Iron Age pottery sherds and one early medieval sherd were recovered from loose soil in a hole created by a fallen tree (context 9) [6]. A large quantity of animal bone was observed but not collected, as well as small quantities of post medieval tiles and sherds.
Groundworks for the installation of a new building within a former car park at the corner of Pike Lane were also observed (Context 10) [5]. Trenches had been excavated to a depth of 1m to 1.5m. Wall footings, rubble layers, and soil layers were observed within the trenches, but these are likely all post medieval to modern. The sherds noted earlier (see above) were likely from earlier disturbance which had been backfilled prior to this visit.
Information from (S3, p 8) and note by A. Rogerson (22 October 1987) in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

November 1987. Metal Detecting.
Metal detecting in the front garden of Riverside [7] recovered a copper alloy plate with repoussee ornamentation in the form of a right-facing head and a garbled inscription. The motifs were derived from a Saxon coin obverse. It has been identified as the decorative portion of an nummular brooch.
See (S3, Pp 11 and 28) and list and drawing in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

June 1988. Field Observation.
Groundworks for a new building in the garden of Friars Close, adjacent to the Summer House, were observed (Context 16) [8]. 1m of made ground was observed at the northern end of the trench, sloping to1.5m at the southern end. Brick bats and sparse pottery finds suggest that most or all of this made ground dates to the 19th century. Earlier material recovered from spoil heaps consists of one Ipswich ware rim sherd, one medieval pottery sherd, a fragment of salt glazed stoneware, and a flint flake. No archaeological features such as pits , truncated or otherwise, were visible. The absence of any large ditch shows that castle earthworks did not turn southwest at this point to run parallel with Castle Lane.
Information from (S3, p 28) and note by J. J. Wymer (31 August 1988) in file. See location plan in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

October 1990. Field Observation.
Several pits were encountered during excavation of foundation trenches for an extension to the rear of 21 Old Market Street. NAU was notified and was able to record these features.
Successive layers containing chalk lumps and brick (likely 19th century) were observed above the natural chalk. The top of the chalk was relatively flat and level across the excavated area and no pre-medieval stratigraphy had survived. Three of the pits were dated to the medieval period, likely 13th to 14th century. One of these contained what may have been a cess deposit as well as fragments of a large lipped 13th to 14th century crucible. Other finds from the medieval pits include small quantities of animal bone, a 12th or 13th century pottery sherd, and 13th to 14th century glazed and unglazed pottery. Another possible large pit could not be dated and an additional feature was likely a post medieval well. Several modern features were also observed, including shallow drain trenches and a brick-lined culvert which ran northeast to southwest across the site.
Although no traces of the Iron Age ditch were identified, any pre-medieval deposits may have been removed by more recent leveling. Contractors also reported difficulties with inserting foundations at the rear of the building to the west, suggesting that the southern lip of the Iron Age ditch may lay a few metres to the north of this site.
See (S16, pp 85-7) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 8 October 2008.

November 1990. Watching Brief. (Link Road, NAU)
Groundworks for the creation of the northern portion of the Thetford Link road were monitored. Remains of chalk and flint walls were observed in the southern portion of the development area. These are believed to be the remains of a 19th century row of cottages situated at 90 degrees to Castle Street. No archaeological features or finds were recorded in the northern portion of the development area. Metal detecting within the development area did not produce any pre-modern finds.
See (S16, p 87) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 9 October 2008.

January to April 1991. Watching Brief. (link road for NAU)
Groundworks for the construction of the southern portion of the Thetford Link Road between Castle Street and Guildhall Street were monitored intermittently. Two wells, one brick lined and one stone lined, were recorded within the southern portion of the road, between Pile Lane and Guildhall Street. An undated pit and remains of a rubble-filled basement or cellar of a building which previously fronted Raymond Street were encountered during groundworks in a small area between Guildhall Street and Raymond Street (likely the remains of NHER 12111 or NHER 12114). In the east of this area the groundworks did not reach natural soil and it remains uncertain whether the top of a feature was exposed or insufficient depth was reached. This area falls within the projected line of the Late Saxon town ditch excavated at Guildhall Street (NHER 25296).
Three sections of a pipe trench running the entire length of the ring road and extending southwest to the river were also observed. Two possible undated archaeological features were observed at the junction of Guildhall Street, Raymond Street, and Old Market Street, beneath the modern road. The form of the features remains uncertain, but one may have been the outer edge of a ditch aligned northeast-southwest and over 5m deep, possibly the outer lip of the outer ditch of the Iron Age defences. The second feature may have been the inner edge of a ditch aligned northwest-southeast and approximately 2m deep, possibly the inner lip of the Late Saxon defensive ditch.
See (S16, Pp 87-8) and (S32) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 9 October 2008.

1993. Metal detector find. Medieval coin weight.
A copper alloy coin weight was recovered at Friar's Close [9] during metal detecting. It has been identified as a late 15th to early 16th century circular uniface coin weight, English for an angel.
See list in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 15 October 2008.

19 June 1995. NLA air photography.
Motte of castle visible in view taken of Thetford.
See (S17) for further details.
S. Massey (NLA) 4 May 2001.

November 1997. Field observation.
Outer face of inner rampart of northeast bailey badly eroded, with chalk fill falling away leaving considerable overhang. Two trees on rampart showing erosion of soil over root system. Erosion up northeast side of motte, where steps have crumbled away or been removed. Path now developing into several scars. Sycamores and other scrub on south half of motte recently cut back.
H. Paterson.

April 1998. Field Observation.
Erosion scar on outer bank to northeast appears to have increased since previous visits (see above). Specification for repairs drawn up by HBMC sent to Breckland.
H. Paterson.

September 1998. Scheduling revised.
The area of the scheduled monument has been revised to include a stretch of land south of Castle Lane, including the site of the Augustianian Friary (NHER 5912) and the Prehistoric to medieval remains (NHER 5940) within the grounds of Ford Place (NHER 45469), north of the river Thet.
See (S5) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 23 October 2008.

November 1998. Excavation. Contexts 36-52.
Excavation in advance of redevelopment of the lavatories on Castle Street recorded two undated inter-cutting pits. The earlier pit contained two sherds of 13th to 14th century pottery, but no other evidence of the date of the features was recovered and the medieval sherds may be residual. It has been suggested that the pits may be associated with medieval or post medieval chalk quarrying. The pits were sealed by a levelling or make-up layer which included frequent flint and chalk fragments as well as modern brick and tile. This may be an 18th to 19th century layer associated with the construction of the row houses immediately west of the excavation area. This layer was cut by a possible robber trench, which was identified in section.
See (S18) for further details.
See also (S40).
E. Rose (NLA), 3 March 1999.
Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 23 October 2008.

1998. Casual Find.
One sherd of medieval pottery was found on the surface of the Military Parade [10].
See list in file.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 15 October 2008.

1999. Earthwork survey.
An earthwork survey at 1:1250 was undertaken by B. Cushion.
See copy in file.
See also (S39).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 23 October 2008.

Section 17 Management Agreement signed 17 March 1999 (1 year).
H. Paterson (A&E) 14 September 1999.

November 2000. Watching brief.
A small hole (0.30m by 0.30m by 0.50m deep) was hand excavated for the insertion of a new display and interpretation panel. No archaeological features or finds were observed.
See (S19) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA) 1 November 2000.

November 2000. Site visit.
Eroded scar of north bank has again worsened since previous visit (7 March 2000). This now stretches to summit. Acting on advice from English Heritage additions to previous specification for repairs, will be drawn by DC, and further finds sought for the work.
H. Paterson (A&E) 2 November 2000.

April 2002. Site visit.
Erosion of rampart to northeast has worsened. Evidence of being used as children's sliding area, with flattened cardboard boxes at base of scar. This now over 2m at top. Heaps of chalk lumps accumulating at base. Other areas of scar increasing on both ramparts and motte.
H. Paterson (A&E) 10 April 2002.

May 2002. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of excavations for the installation of three rubbish bins. No archaeological features or finds were recorded.
See report (S20) for further details.
Previously recorded under NHER 37373.
J. Allen (NLA) 9 September 2002. Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 08 July 2008.

August 2002.
Chalk 'screes' at base of scar on north defences have grassed over. However main scar probably wider. Discussions with P. Walker (English Heritage) and officers from Broadland DC took place. Due to huge expense of restoration and likelihood that other areas would be used as slides, a decision was taken to investigate possibility of covering scar with some strong netting, and allowing sliding to continue on this protective surface.
H. Paterson (A&E) 29 August 2002.

June 2008.
Turf has been stolen from the monument.
See (S33) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA) 3 June 2008.

November 2008. Excavation and watching brief at site of play area. Contexts from 100.
Details to come.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 2 December 2008.

October 2008.
Scheduled monument consent grated concerning the removal and replacement of play equipment.
See (S36) for further information.
H. White (NLA) 7 January 2009

February- March 2009.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning the facilitation of an historical re-enactment, including the erection of temporary barrier posts and the insertion of pegs for guy ropes and awnings. Consent also granted concerning the planting of one apple tree.
See (S37) for further details.
H. White (NLA), 19 March 2009.

April 2011.
Section 17 agreement signed.
See (S38).
D. Robertson (HES), 11 April 2011.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • ANTLER WORKING SITE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • DITCH (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FEATURE (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • GULLY (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • HILLFORT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • PIT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon to Late Saxon - 651 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHALK PIT? (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FEATURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • CONSTRUCTION TRENCH? (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1540 AD to 1950 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROBBER TRENCH? (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1540 AD to 1950 AD)
  • RUBBISH PIT (Post Medieval - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Undated)
  • RING (Unknown date)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Unknown date)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Unknown date)
  • DEBITAGE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • END SCRAPER (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • ARROWHEAD (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • BARBED AND TANGED ARROWHEAD (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • POT (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 3000 BC to 1501 BC)
  • POT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • BRACELET (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • COMB (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • HARNESS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • MANUFACTURING DEBRIS (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • TWEEZERS (Iron Age - 800 BC? to 42 AD?)
  • POT (Middle Iron Age - 400 BC? to 101 BC?)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • BROOCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PERSONAL ORNAMENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARROWHEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CRUCIBLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PERSONAL ORNAMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPOON (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN WEIGHT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COMB (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1699 AD)
  • GUNFLINT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KNIFE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOTTLE (Post Medieval - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Management Statement
  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1982. NHER TL 8782U-X (NLA 124/ARW15-20) 30-JUN-1982.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1977. NHER TL 8782J-M (NLA 47/AJF9-14) 21-JUL-1977.
---Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 180.
---Article in Serial: Killick, H. F. 1908. The Origin and History of Thetford Hill. Norfolk Antiquarian Miscellany. Second Series Pt 3 pp 1-28.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. A great environment, naturally. 2 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The second Norman invasion.. 28 July.
---Article in Serial: Rigold, S. 1980. Thetford Castle. Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 p 355.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1991. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1990. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt II pp 240-246. p 245.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Thetford.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Iron Age. Thetford [4].
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Thetford.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Thetford [2].
---Article in Serial: Clarke, R. R. and Green, E. B. 1963. Excavations at Thetford Castle, 1962. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 14 (for 1961 and 1962) pp 7-9.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8782ABJ (NLA 223/DHR13) 15-JUN-1989.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8782AY-AZ (NLA 237/DMF7-8) 12-JUL-1989.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8782AV-AW (NLA 270/GCN11-12) 10-JUL-1990.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8782AT-AU (NLA 183/DCQ15, DCQ17) 27-JUL-1986.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8782AP-AQ (NLA 183/SLIDE) 13-JUL-1989.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1989. NHER TL 8782AL-AN (NLA 183/SLIDE) 13-JUL-1989.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1983. NHER TL 8782AA (NLA 134/ASW16) 15-JUL-1983.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1982. NHER TL 8782Y-Z (NLA 124/SLIDE) 30-JUN-1982.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1980. NHER TL 8782R-T (NLA 83/AMW16-18) 16-JUN-1980.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1981. NHER TL 8782Q (NLA 109/AQT26) 30-JUN-1981.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1977. NHER TL 8782D (NLA 183/DCQ16) 26-JUL-1986.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1975. NHER TL 8782A-B (NLA 22/ADY3-4) 30-JUL-1975.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Middle Saxon. Thetford.
<S1>Serial: Armstrong, M. J.. 1781. The History and Antiquities of the County of Norfolk.. Vol VIII, Shropham Hundred. p 155.
<S2>Monograph: Martin, T.. 1779. History of Thetford.. pp 12, 13.
<S3>Article in Monograph: Gregory, T. 1992. Excavations at Thetford Castle 1962. The Iron Age Forts of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. Davies, J. et al. No 54 pp 1-17.
<S4>Scheduling Record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
<S5>Photograph: JU 21, 1962 excav, EXC 34-5, film M.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Clarke, R. R. and Green, B.. 1962. Norfolk Research Committee Excavations at Thetford Castle, Norfolk, 1962..
<S7>Correspondence: Green, B.. 1964. Letter regarding summary of 1962 excavations at Castle Hill, Thetford.. 4 February.
<S8>Unpublished Document: Peter Dann and Partners. 1978. Borehole Survey Records, Thetford (Castle Hill).
<S9>Article in Monograph: Davies, J. 1992. Excavations at Ford Place 1985-6. The Iron Age Forts of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. Davies, J. et al. No 54 pp 17-27.
<S10>Unpublished Document: Breckland District Council. 1986. Minutes of the Breckland District Council Planning and Development Committee. 1 September.
<S11>Unpublished Document: DCMS. Scheduled Monument Consent. March 1987.
<S12>Unpublished Document: May Gurney (Technical Services) Limited. 1987. Bore hole records for land adjioning 9 Old Market Street, Thetford.. 19 March.
<S13>Illustration: Rogerson, A. and Wymer, J.. 1987. Location plans and sections from obsevations of groundworks to the rear of Gothic House, Old Market Street, Thetford.. 6 and 7 August.
<S14>Correspondence: Rose, E.. 1983. Letter regarding groundworks adjacent to Riverside, Castle Lane, Thetford.. 26 October.
<S15>Illustration: Wymer, J.. 1987. Location plan and section of foundation trenches between Riverside and Driftwood, Castle Lane.. 26 August.
<S16>Article in Monograph: Andrews, P. and Penn, K. 1999. Watching Briefs and Trial Trenches. Excavations in Thetford, North of the River, 1989-90. East Anglian Archaeology. Andrews, P. and Penn, K. No 87 pp 83-88. pp 85-88.
<S17>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. NHER TL 8783P (NLA 351/HBV15) 19-JUN-1995.
<S18>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trimble, G. 1999. Report on an Archaeological Excavation at Castle Park, Thetford. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 383.
<S19>Unpublished Document: Gurney, D.. 2000. Thetford Castle. Scheduled Ancient Monument. 1 November 2000.. 1 November.
<S20>Unpublished Contractor Report: Bates, S. 2002. Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief at Castle Hill bins, Thetford. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 735.
<S21>Newspaper Article: The Times Archaeological Correspondent. 1962. Iron Age Fort at Thetford.. 8 October.
<S22>Newspaper Article: Clover, R. D. (EDP). 1977. Damage to the Hill.. 10 June.
<S23>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1978. Castle mound facelift to cost £50,000 IN Eastern Daily Press. 31 October.
<S24>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979. Castle mound to be improved IN Eastern Daily Press. 12 June.
<S25>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Call to protect Castle Mound IN Eastern Daily Press. 22 January.
<S26>Newspaper Article: Ette, A. (EDP). 1986. Thetford Castle Mound.. 29 January.
<S27>Newspaper Article: Clover, R. (EDP). 1986. Thetford dig.. 8 February.
<S28>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Historic site an 'eyesore' claim IN Eastern Daily Press. 27 August.
<S29>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Work on monument 'urgent' IN Eastern Daily Press. 1 October.
<S30>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. New cash pledge on Mound IN Eastern Daily Press. 22 October.
<S31>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Mound seen as tourist attraction IN Eastern Daily Press. 10 April.
<S32>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Protests at 'threat to historic open space' IN Eastern Daily Press. 18 March.
<S33>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. Turf theft woman is tracked down. 3 June 2008.
<S34>Illustration: Martin, T.. 1740. Sketch of Thetford Castle Hill.
<S35>Article in Serial: Clarke, W. G. 1907. Thetford Castle Hill. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XVI pp 39-45.
<S36>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2008. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S37>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2009. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S38>Unpublished Document: Norfolk County Council. 2010-2011. Norfolk Monuments Management Project Section 17 agreement.
<S39>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2000. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1999. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt III pp 521-543. p 537.
<S40>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 369-387. p 383.
<S41>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1965. Medieval Britain in 1962 and 1963. Medieval Archaeology. Vol VIII (for 1964) pp 231-299. P 257.

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