Record Details

NHER Number:7737
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval hollow ways and possible site of Helmingham or Morton deserted village


Massive medieval hollow ways survive to the west of Morton Hall (NHER 7726). These are up to 9m deep and probably indicate the site of a deserted settlement. It has been suggested that this possible settlement could be Helmingham, a vill mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and in documents from 1329, 1368 and 1428. It is also plausible that the settlement may have been called Morton, with Helmingham located elsewhere in the parish. St Margaret's Church is located very close by (NHER 7725).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 125 158
Map Sheet:TG11NW

Full description

Possible site of Domesday vill of Helmingham, noted by R.R. Clarke (NCM) at crossing of hollow ways.
Named in Domesday (S1) and Nomina Villarum (S2) in 1368 as 'Helmingham alias Morton'; in 1428 it had 10 householders.
(S3) says that Morton was a hamlet of Helmingham and that the present church (NHER 7725) is Helmingham church, site NHER 7741 being Morton church.

June 1978. Visit.
The hollow ways are massive - about 9m (30 feet) deep - and may have been deliberately cut down at some time.
Dense shrubbery prevents any further evidence being seen.
E. Rose (NCM), 14 June 1978.

In the lay subsidy of 1329 it was combined with Ringland.
R.J. Rickett(NAU), 9 July 1990.

February 2003.
The hollow ways form entrance drives to the hall (NHER 7726). No other features visited in the thick woodland.
H. Paterson (A&E), 14 February 2003.

April 2010. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of the medieval hollow ways to the west of the Hall are visible through the trees on aerial photographs (S5). However due to the tree cover partially obscuring the earthworks, they could not be discerned sufficiently for mapping purposes. Additionally it was hard to be certain which earthworks for of some antiquity and which ones related to the remaining post medieval roads associated with the hall that are depicted on historic maps. No other earthworks related to the probable medieval settlement at this site could be identified through the tree cover.
S. Horlock (NMP), 30 April 2010.

Monument Types

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOLLOW WAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---(No record type): Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Morton-On-The-Hill.
<S1>Publication: Brown, P (ed.). 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk. Parts 1 and 2.
<S2>Monograph: Nomina Villarum..
<S3>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1808. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol VIII.
<S4>Archive: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards.
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. RAF 58/651 3316-7 24-APR-1951 (NMR).

Related records - none

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