Record Details

NHER Number:6087
Type of record:Monument
Name:Harling Thorpe deserted medieval settlement

Summary

The earthworks of the medieval settlement of Harling Thorpe have been subject to earthwork survey and are visible on aerial photographs. The site consists of a central hollow way with a street of tofts and platforms backing onto the flood plain of the River Thet. A church has previously recorded at this site, but documentary sources do not suggest that such a structure existed at the settlement and masonry remains found at the site are more likely to relate to a watermill. Metal detecting has recovered Roman, medieval and post medieval metal finds. A Neolithic leaf-shaped arrowhead has also been recovered. The site is now used as a campsite.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 9457 8425
Map Sheet:TL98SW
Parish:BRIDGHAM, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK
HARLING, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Earthworks, including moat, and site of church with possible remains.

1977.
Finds of Roman, medieval and post medieval sherds.

1980.
Neolithic arrowhead found.

Pre 1988.
Finds with no information of Roman coin and metalwork, medieval to post medieval metalwork.

1990. Found during earthwork survey.
Medieval sherds.
See details, schedule sheet and documentary evidence in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 2 March 1990.

May 2002. Metal detecting. In area centred [1].
12th century finger ring with glass setting (Treasure report to follow).
Two Roman coins.
See list in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 21 July 2002.

May 2002. Stripping of trackway, monitored by Suffolk Archaeological Service. The depth of stripping remained largely within the topsoil. From context 100 to 104.
Roman sherd.
Medieval and post medieval pottery.
Post medieval brick and tile.
J. Allen (NLA), 30 May 2002.

12th century ring found May 2002 (see above) disclaimed as Treasure 1 April 2003.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 26 April 2003.

April 2005.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning the digging of a small trench to locate the existing soil pipe and to connect a new waste pipe from the WC.
See (S1)
H. White (NLA), 20 March 2008

May 2005. Watching brief.
Carried out for English Heritage to monitor digging of new waste pipe from toilet to cess pit close to boundary of scheduled monument. Trench showed disturbance from tree roots and existing electricity cable. No archaeological finds or features were encountered.
See (S2).
H. Paterson (A&E), 10 May 2005.

March 2007.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning the digging of a trench to bury power cables.
See (S3).
H. White (NLA), 6 April 2009

16 October 2008.
Scheduled Monument consent granted concerning excavation work for underground electricity cabling to supply a new outdoor education centre and for the digging of a trench and bore hole.
See (S4) for further details
H. White (NLA), 20 March 2009.

December 2008. Watching brief, contexts from 105.
A small exploratory hole was dug by hand in the proposed loction of a new electricity pole. The hole was then augured. Secondary holes to locate the existing cabling were dug to the north of the pole, and the spoil from these holes produced a sherd of medieval pottery, an iron nail, a horseshoe fragment, oyster shell and animal bone. No archaeological features were identified.
See (S6) for further details.
H. White (NLA), 9 April 2009.

The central grid reference for this site has been altered from TL 9477 8416 to TL 9465 8435

January 2011. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of the medieval settlement of Harling Thorpe are visible on aerial photographs (S7-S9). This site has been subject to an earthwork survey by Brian Cushion in 1990 (S10-S11) and this revealed a detailed plan of the site, which consists of a central hollow way with a street of tofts and platforms backing onto the flood plain of the River Thet. The NMP mapping has largely confirmed what was recorded on the ground, although some significant additions to the site were identified on the aerial photographs.
Within the eastern concentration of platforms backing onto the hollow way are a number of pronounced raised areas, appearing to sit on top of these broader platforms, and some of these are likely to have related to former buildings and/or houses. Although it must be noted that the earthworks in the area of TL 9488 8419 were hard to discern on the aerial photographs and it may be that further platforms were present in this area. Additional platforms in a similar topographic location to those to the east – i.e. backing onto the flood plain – where identified to the north of Thorpe Farm.
To the west of Thorpe Farm an area of ridge and furrow or water meadows were identified (S10-S11). These were clearly visible on the aerial photographs, in particular (S8). Given the position of these earthworks immediate adjacent to the flood plain and linked into a dyke leading off the River Thet, the interpretation of water management, more specifically water meadows, seems the most likely, as suggested in (S10), although given the medieval settlement context then the presence of ridge and furrow must remain a possiblity. To the immediate west of these ridges an irregular chain of drains, with occasional internal platforms, is visible on the aerial photographs (S7-S9). Although not as clearly defined as the water meadows system to the east it seems likely that these served a similar function.
The manorial house associated with the settlement (NHER 6084) is thought to have been located near Thorpe Farm. Blomefield states that remains of this house were lost prior to the early eighteenth century and that the site of the manor was made into a pond or pool (S10). A large depression noted on the ground may correspond with this former site, see NHER 6084 for details. A small depression noted on the aerial photographs (S8) at TL 9428 8400 seems unlikely to correspond to this feature and is more likely to relate to this linear group of water management features.
The above suggested site of a church, marked on Ordnance Survey maps, is generally felt more likely to relate to the site of a watermill (S10-S11) and a millstone has been found on site. There are documentary references to a watermill in Harling Thorpe in the 15th century (S10), and is worth noting that no references to a Church have been recovered as part of the extensive documentary research undertaken by Alan Davison for this site. The NMP mapping revealed an L-shaped revetment or wall projected out over the flood plain at this approximate location. Although it must be noted that the arrangement of channels coming off the River Thet to the north of Thorpe Farm would be more suggestive of the location of a watermill.
The NMP mapping has also greatly extended knowledge of this site through the recording of additional earthwork enclosures and boundaries to the north of the previously surveyed area, located on the opposite side of the Thet on Thorpe Fen. The most significant of these being the large ditched enclosure at TL 9470 8448, which has a number of internal platforms and probable building remnants visible on the aerial photographs. A number of probable trackway and raised routeway sections are visible leading towards the enclosures from the east. Within the main settlement the earthworks of second hollow way leading south can be seen to the east of Thorpe Farm and an extension of this route can be seen as cropmarks up to 130m to the south.
S. Horlock (NMP), 13 January 2011.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHURCH? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOLLOW WAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RIDGE AND FURROW? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WATERMILL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WATER MEADOW? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • MILLSTONE (Undated)
  • LEAF ARROWHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINGER RING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SPOON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Davison, A. J. 1983. The Distribution of Medieval Settlements in West Harling. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVIII Pt III pp 329-336.
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
---Publication: English Heritage. 2002. Scheduled Monument Consent. April 2002.
---Unpublished Document: Gill, D.. 2002. Thorpe Woodland Campsite, Harling 6087. A Report on the Archaeological Monitoring, 2002.. May.
---Scheduling Record: Corbishley, M.. 1982. AM107.
---Unpublished Document: Norfolk Archaeological Research Group Field Recording Sheet.
---Unpublished Document: 1999. Scheduled Ancient Monument Management Plan.
---Scheduling Record: 1975. AM7.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Harling.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2005. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Paterson, H.. 2005. Norfolk Monuments Management Programme Report on Archaeological Watching Brief. Thorpe Wood Camp Site, Harling..
<S3>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2007. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S4>Scheduling Record: DCMS. 2008. Scheduled Monument Consent.
<S5>Slide: Various. Slide. 1-7.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Hobbs, B.. 2009. NAU Archaeology Report No. 1862. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Thorpe Cottages, Shadwell..
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/UK/59 5311-3 05-FEB-46 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1707 3216-7 29-AUG-1946 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF CPE/UK/1801 3148-9 25-OCT-1946 (NMR).
<S10>Article in Serial: Davison, A. and Cushion, B. 1991. The Earthworks at Harling Thorpe. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt II pp 207-211.
<S11>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 106.

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