Record Details

NHER Number:9660
Type of record:Monument
Name:Bixley deserted settlement

Summary

This is the site of Bixley village, which was deserted in the medieval period. Only an isolated church remains (NHER 1859) of the buildings. There are several areas of earthworks in the vicinity of the church, particularly to the south and east. They are visible on aerial photographs and have been the subject of detailed ground survey. Earthworks of at least three sunken roadways, several house and building platforms, ponds and numerous banked and ditched boundaries have been identified. Historic aerial photographs have revealed the former extent of the earthworks, which continued to the south of Bixley Hall (NHER 9876).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 261 044
Map Sheet:TG20SE
Parish:BIXLEY, SOUTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1966.
Survey of Earthworks north, east and south of Church. Surrounds St.Wandragesilius's Church (site 1859) see (S1).
Scheduled 1998. (S1) in file.

Plan in NCM, Published in (S2)

Unit aerial photographs, 27 May 1977: TG 2504G-J inclusive, TG2604/A - F inclusive.
St. Joseph AP's OC49, OX43, OX 44, accessioned as NAU AP index nos TG2504C - E. Earthworks of DMV site.
See Overlays for areas TG2504, TG2604 and TG2605 at 1:2,500 scale and Overlay for NAU NHER 6 inch map.
D. A. Edwards (NAU) 18 January 1980.

1996.
Earthwork survey at 1:1000 and (S3) in file. Site extended to west and northeast, to show further enclosures, roadway and toft. The road projecting southwards towards the former Hall is now arable land.
B. Cushion (NLA), November 1996.

Pre October 1996. Found during agricultural activity at Bixley 'perhaps near DMV site'.
Medieval strap end. See full description in file by Suffolk Archaeology Unit, to whom the find was reported.
E. Rose (NLA) 17 February 1997.

13 May 1997. Fields examined after agricultural operations.
?Iron Age, Roman, Late Saxon, medieval and post medieval sherds.
See lists, notes and plan in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 26 May 1997.

8 April 1997. NLA aerial photography.
Earthworks and crop/soilmarks of settlement and hollow way visible.
S. Massey (NLA), 26 October 2001.

Visited to monitor removal of dumped material previously deposited in two areas i) east of church.
Informed by machine operator that drain had been laid here some months previously, covered by gravel.
Gravel encountered at approximately 22cm. Exercise aborted; ii) southwest of church material removed from filled area for some 10m west from pond. This graded to conform with existing earthwork.
H. Paterson (A&E) 5 July 1999.

Management Agreement (S4) signed 31 December 1997 (5 years)
H. Paterson (A&E) 14 September 1999.

1998.
Observation of pylon replacement within scheduled area produced only post medieval sherds, no features. See report filed under 33753.
E. Rose (NLA), 5 January 2000.

November 2000. Visit.
Excellent grass cover, minimal poaching around feed trough. New water troughs will be needed in the near future. This will entail piping, causing minimal disturbance. Farm Manager to contact with details of route. Sheep grazing to be introduced prior to summer cattle.
H. Paterson (A&E) 30 November 2000.

April 2001. Visit.
Visited to advise on line of water pipes, agreed with English Heritage.
These following hedge lines for the most part.
Watching brief to be undertaken by H. Paterson during disturbance of sensitive areas.
H. Paterson (A & E), 2 April 2001.

17 April 2001. NLA watching brief.
New water main.
See report (S5), plan and photos in file.
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 December 2001.

April 2001.
Found during watching brief above, in spoil thrown up by machine excavating trench 75cm (2 foot 6 inches) deep and 10cm (4 inches) wide.
Late Saxon or medieval U shaped iron padlock bolt with single spine and double leaf spring. See X ray number NX 6014 in file, object to NCM.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 30 November 2002.

March 2009. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks associated with Bixley deserted medieval village were examined and mapped using all the available aerial photographs (S6)-(S23), and as a result the limits of the earthworks have been extended to the north, south, and east, and in more than one area an alternative view of the internal arrangements of the earthworks has been offered.

Overall, the features mapped from the aerial photographs seem to align with the earthwork survey of 1996 (S3).

There are several areas of earthworks in the vicinity of the church, particularly to the south and east. They are visible on aerial photographs and have been the subject of detailed ground survey. They include a hollow way to the east of the church, parallel to the former course of the Norwich to Bungay road (S3), which runs south-north for a time from TG 2593 0476 to TG 2590 0489, then branches off to the north east as far as TG 2596 0493, in the form of another short, partially in-filled way, before continuing north as far as TG 2600 0520. To the west of this road, additional ditches and banks were visible as cropmarks (S6) centred at TG 2597 0514. Additional earthworks were also recorded to the east of this road, at TG 2607 0512 and TG 2607 0507, indicating further divisions of land in this area.
Another road extends south-westwards from the church visible on (S16), and to the south of this an area of possible tofts has been identified through the examination of the aerial photographs.
It is this area to the south west of the churchyard, the area centred around TG 2575 0485, which has proven one of the most problematic. There were only two photographs on which the earthworks in the south of the area were clear, (S7) and (S16), and these photographs appeared to contradict each other, with the earthworks on (S16) apparently oriented in a northwest-southeast direction, but those on (S7) appearing to be oriented in more of a northeast-southwest direction. Due to the fact that the earlier photograph (S16) was taken with the camera at a greater distance from the subject, and that the quality of the more recent image (S7) was greater in terms of more consistent light conditions, the features in this area were mapped from this photograph. It was however, difficult to distinguish between ditches and banks in this area, and the three ditches in the southeast corner of the field, centred on TG 2576 0484, have been mapped with a note of caution. It is likely that these features represent boundaries of individual tofts, however, and as such have added a great deal to our existing knowledge of the site.
A possible continuation of the east-west ditches in the field to the south-west of the church was mapped, directly to the south of the church, from TG 2585 0492 to TG 2588 0493 (S18), and this represents an addition to the original earthwork survey.
In the field to the north east of the church, two further north-south linear features have been identified (S14) from TG 2589 0498 to TG 2590 0506 and TG 2594 0507 to TG 2595 0520.
Further additions to the overall plan of the site have been made, particularly to the south and east of the third road or hollow way identified by the earthwork survey (S3), which runs north south from TG 2613 0507 to TG 2615 0482. The internal arrangements of the settlement have also been augmented in this area, and at least one possible house platform, measuring approximately 12m x 8m, was mapped at TG 2615 0493.
A series of earthworks are visible ((S8), (S12), (S15) and (S18-19)) to the south of previously mapped site, centred on TG 2606 0467. These appear to represent a series of three or more tofts, measuring up to 38m square internally, and represent an extension of more than 50m to the existing plan of the earthworks.
To the eastern edge of the site (at TG 2629 0491), is an area of possible ridge and furrow. The ridges are wide enough (at least 9m) to be of medieval date, but the vegetation marks or low earthworks are only visible on one set of aerial photographs (S14) and may be of modern agricultural origin. This theory was supported by the fact that the marks appear in an area where on previous photographs (S8) there had been open earthworks, and suggest that they indeed relate to recent agricultural activity such as drainage. These marks were therefore not mapped. The earthworks visible on the earlier photographs (S8) were mapped, however, as they appear to be aligned north northwest-south southeast along with the rest of the ditch features in the vicinity, and these ditches represent an extension to the known earthworks by approximately 90m to the east.
It is clear from the aerial photographs that at least four of the ponds within the site were expanded for use as extraction pits (S17) and have therefore been mapped as ‘extent of area’ from this photo, as they were clearly still being expanded at this stage.
Also, to the south east of the village, an earthwork bank or possible hollow way was visible on (S8) and (S18), running from TG 2638 0464 to TG 2616 0457. It is possible that this feature represents a more recent agricultural trackway, and should perhaps be viewed in relation to other features to the south of Bixley.
Overall little can be added to the interpretation of the site, but the information from the aerial photographs has certainly extended the known plan of this complex site.
E. Bales (NMP), 31 March 2009.

The central grid reference for this site has been altered from TG 259 048 to TG 2613 0455 due to the considerable extension of the site to the south.

November 2009. Norfolk NMP.
Consultation of additional aerial photographs (S24-S31) as part of further NMP work to the south of Bixely medieval settlement has revealed a continuation of the settlement and cultivation features recorded to the north by the field survey (S3, S5) and the earlier NMP mapping. The central grid reference for this site has been altered from TG 259 048 to TG 2613 0455 due to the considerable extension of the site to the south to include earthworks around Bixley Hall (NHER 9876).
The hollow way running south from the church was recorded for a further 275m, from TG 2593 0475 to TG 2602 0449. The southern end of the route reveals two phases (S26, S28). The earlier and broader sunken track continues to the south on a straight course. Overlying this is a narrow track than curves around to the east. The date of this later track is not known, it may feasibly be post medieval in date. To either side of this hollow way a number of ditched enclosures were identified and these are likely to represent the remains of further tofts, in particular in the areas of TG 2589 0467, TG 2601 0456 and TG 2605 0465.
To the west of the site at TG 2587 0442 is another area of ditched enclosures, which may also represent the remains of medieval tofts (S26, S28). These earthworks are cut across by those relating to a former route of the Norwich to Bungay Road (NHER 9661 and 52477). These slightly irregular shaped enclosures follow a different alignment to the rest of the medieval site and, given the recovery of finds dating to the Roman and Saxon periods (NHER 28974) from this general vicinity, it is feasible that these features represent an earlier component to the site. However, given the somewhat irregular nature of the earthworks and there proximity to some a number of post medieval drainage ditches, there archaeological significance is uncertain.
To the south of Bixley Hall (NHER 9876), centred on TG 2613 0424, is an area of now ploughed levelled earthworks, consisting of banks and ditched boundaries and enclosures (S25, S27, S29). It is feasible given the alignment that the parallel ditches and bank running from TG 2606 0435 to TG 2614 0415 represent a southern continuation of the hollow way to the north, that predates the mid sixteenth century Bixley Hall (NHER 9876). The eastern part of these enclosures appears to represent more than one phase of earthworks, with a curving, closely-set double bank and ditch running from the TG 2630 0419 to TG 2625 0439 (S24-25), which may represent a later phase to the more regular enclosures. An area of probable ridge and furrow was identified to the immediate east of these enclosures (S24), centred on TG 2635 0435.
To the south of these earthwork enclosures runs the parish boundary, which is marked by a series of banked and ditched boundaries and drainage channels. This parish boundary runs parallel at this point to a probable Roman road (NHER 9904) and as it is hard to separate out the Roman from the medieval, it has all been recorded under NHER 9904. It is interesting to note that a broad level bank crosses the parish boundary ditch and forms a curving road-like platform leading into the area of enclosures. To the south of the parish boundary and the earthworks possibly originated as a Roman road and its side ditches, is a continuation of the medieval ditched enclosures (S25, S30), which run alongside the route of the Norwich to Bungay road (NHER 9661).
S. Horlock (NMP), 04 November 2009.

Monument Types

  • POND (Unknown date)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CAUSEWAY (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)
  • RIDGE AND FURROW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PADLOCK (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PADLOCK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • SHINE
  • Management Statement
  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 548.
---Article in serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1998. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1997. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt I pp 193-210. p 194.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Bixley.
---Article in serial: Wade-Martins, P. and Wade, K. 1967. Some Deserted Villages in Norfolk: Notes for Visitors. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 17 pp 2-8. p 7.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
<S2>Article in monograph: Wade, K., Fenner, G. and Knight, J. 1982. Some Deserted Village Sites in Norfolk: VIII. Bixley. Trowse, Horning, Deserted Medieval Villages. East Anglian Arch. No 14. pp 91-94. p 90.
<S3>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A.. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 104. p 19.
<S4>Unpublished document: H. Paterson (A&E), MPP. Section 17 Management Agreement.
<S5>Unpublished document: Cushion, B.. 1996. Bixley DMV. November.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG 2504AQ - ABX; TG 2505F - T; TG 2605D.
<S7>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D, NLA. 1993. TG2504 C-E,G,H,P-N,Z; TG2604 K-M; TG2605 A,B.
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/776 6241-3 07-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1428 3098-9 16-APR-1946 (NMR).
<S10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1606 3059-60, & 6061 27-JUN-1946 (NMR).
<S11>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. RAF 58/714 (Vp1) 5164-5 03-JUN-1951 (NMR).
<S12>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. RAF 58/714 (Vp1) 5189-90 03-JUN-1951 (NMR).
<S13>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. RAF 82/759 0035-6 09-APR-1953 (NMR).
<S14>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. RAF 82/759 0340-1 09-APR-1953 (NMR).
<S15>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. RAF 82/759 0379-81 09-APR-1953 (NMR).
<S16>Vertical Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1955. (CUCAP) PP49-50 14-APR-1955.
<S17>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1955. RAF 540/1723 (F22) 0074-5 04-OCT-1955 (NMR).
<S18>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F21) 0081-3 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S19>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F22) 0109-10 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S20>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1961. MAL 61500 7439-40 30-AUG-1961 (NMR).
<S21>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1962. RAF 543/1883 (F22) 0039-40 27-SEP-1962 (NMR).
<S22>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1964. OS/64206 089-90 22-SEP-1964 (NMR).
<S23>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 2603-4 07-AUG-1988 (NCC 9436-7).
<S24>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/789 6003-4 10-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S25>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/776 6244-6 07-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S26>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. RAF 58/714 (Vp2) 5007-8 03-JUN-1951 (NMR).
<S27>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F21) 0082-3 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S28>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F22) 0109-10 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S29>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1964. OS/64206 089-90 22-SEP-1964 (NMR).
<S29>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1964. OS/64206 089-90 22-SEP-1964 (NMR).
<S30>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1996. OS/96247 155-7 22-JUL-1996 (NMR).
<S31>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1996. OS/96247 180-1 22-JUL-1996 (NMR).

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