Record Details

NHER Number:9752
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmark of ring ditch


The earthworks of a circular enclosure or ring ditch of probable medieval to post medieval date are visible on aerial photographs to the west of Swardeston Hill (formerly Hall) Green.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2088 0190
Map Sheet:TG20SW

Full description

16 April 1946.
Cropmark on RAF aerial photograph (S1).
See (S2).

A ring ditch; no sign in field of stubble.
A.J. Lawson (NAU) 9 December 1975.

The central grid reference for this site has been altered from TG 2089 0188 to TG 2087 0190.

April 2009. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of a circular enclosure or ring ditch of probable medieval to post medieval date are visible on aerial photographs to the west of Swardeston Hill (formerly Hall) Green (S1). The previous interpretation of this ring ditch as the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow seems unlikely given the state of the earthworks in 1946 (S1). Additionally no sign of a mound can be discerned and given the good survival of the ring ditch, the mound (if one was ever present) would also be expected to be surviving well. A late medieval to post medieval date seems most likely. The site, which is centred on TG 2087 0190, was formerly located on the Green itself, but the western part has since been converted to arable, levelling the monument and reducing the size of Green (S3). The site of the Green is thought to have been the former location of the medieval settlement of Gowthorpe, see record NHER 52069 for discussion, and the St James’ Chapel (NHER 9717). Both of these are located immediately to south of Swardeston Hall, a sixteenth century mansion with suggested, but unproven, medieval origins (NHER 9716). The 1:10,000 Ordnance Survey map refers to this as the site of Gowthorpe Manor. The Manor of Gowthorpe certainly existed, but it is not clear whether the sixteenth century hall sits on the site of an earlier medieval manorial site.

Nominally the circular causewayed ditched enclosure has the appearance of a ring ditch associated with a windmill mound, although the dimensions are a quite large for such a feature. The presence of numerous extraction pits and the fact that the Green was known as Brick Kiln Close as early as the late 1700s (S4) and in the 1930s (see NHER 9717) would indicate the former use of this area for clay extraction and the manufacture of bricks. A series of water-filled ponds are marked on the 1847 Swardeston Tithe map (S5) are likely to be the remains of former extraction pits, although it is also possible that they relate to fish ponds associated with the Gowthorpe village, see NHER 52069 for details. Although it is not clear how the circular ditched enclosure would relate to the brick making process. There is no obvious sign of a kiln or related structure having stood within the enclosure.

The earthwork ditched enclosure measures 40m in diameter. The ditch varies in width from 1.5m to 2.5m. There are two clear breaks in the ditch; to the south is a 5m wide causeway and to the northwest the ditches are turned outwards to form a funnelled entrance, 4m wide and 5m long. A shallow semi-circular scoop appears to have been taken out of the internal side of the ditch to the southeast of the enclosure. No clearly discernable internal mound or evidence of a structure is evident on the aerial photographs.
S. Horlock (NMP), 24 April 2009.

Monument Types

  • CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE? (Unknown date)
  • RING DITCH (Unknown date)
  • RING DITCH (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC?)
  • CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD?)
  • RING DITCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDMILL MOUND? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDMILL? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Mulbarton.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1429 3161-2 16-APR-1946 (NHER TG 2101A, TG 2001B).
<S2>Map: NCM. NCM Record Map.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1996. OS/96247 084-5 22-JUL-1996 (NMR).
<S4>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1806. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol V. p 50.
<S5>Map: Drane, W.. 1847. Swardeston Tithe map..

Related records - none

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