Parish Summary: Barnham Broom

This Parish Summary is an overview of the large amount of information held for the parish, and only selected examples of sites and finds in each period are given. It has been beyond the scope of the project to carry out detailed research into the historical background, documents, maps or other sources, but we hope that the Parish Summaries will encourage users to refer to the detailed records, and to consult the bibliographical sources referred to below. Feedback and any corrections are welcomed by email to heritage@norfolk.gov.uk

Barnham Broom is located close to the centre of Norfolk, approximately 5 kilometres north of Wymondham. It is a medium sized parish and has an irregular parish boundary. The southern section of the western boundary follows the River Yare (before the river turns eastwards into to the parish), whilst the rest of it follows a range of landscape features.  

Modern settlement is concentrated in the centre of the parish and the village of Barnham Broom. The village is focused on a crossroads and spreads in all directions. There are a number of isolated farms and a golf course in the northwest. 

A Bronze Age flat axehead found on Barnham Broom golf course.

A Bronze Age flat axehead from Barnham Broom. (©NCC) 

A few prehistoric artefacts have been collected. Finds from the vicinity of the village include a Mesolithic flint from close to the River Yare and a Neolithic flint axehead. Prehistoric flints and an Early Bronze Age copper alloy axehead (NHER 35798) have also been found near to the River Yare.

Roman artefacts, including pottery and coins, have been found in three locations, one north of the river, one north of the village and one to the southeast of the village. There are no concentrations that definitely suggest the presence of a settlement, although one site has produced ninety five pottery sherds and two coins (NHER 28370) and is a possibility. 

A Late Saxon belt mount from Barnham Broom. The mount depicts a Winchester style acanthus leaf.

A Late Saxon belt mount from Barnham Broom. The mount depicts a Winchester style acanthus leaf. (©NCC)

An Early Saxon wrist clasp, a 6th century bronze disc and part of an Early Saxon brooch have been found to the south of the village. The site (NHER 28655) with the wrist clasp and disc has also produced two Middle Saxon coins, whilst one or two sherds of Middle Saxon pottery were found nearby. Three pieces of Middle Saxon pottery and two Middle Saxon brooches have also been collected just north of the village. An Early or Middle Saxon buckle and a 9th century brooch have been discovered north of the River Wensum. The few Late Saxon objects from the parish have been found in more or less the same places as the Early and Middle Saxon artefacts.

At the time of the Domesday Book two settlements were recorded. Barnham Broom was held by William of Warenne, Godwine Haldane and Starculf, whilst Bickerston was held by Hermer of Ferrers. Barnham Broom was called ‘Bernham’, Old English for ‘Beorn’s homestead’. Bickerston appears as ‘Bicherstuna’, Old English for ‘the settlement where the beekeeper lived’.

Bickerston (NHER 8876) was located just to the north of the River Yare, where the golf course is today. The only visible remains are two walls from the chancel of the medieval St Andrew's church. A flint wall (NHER 11907) found during earthmoving at the golf course was probably part of a building in or close to the settlement. Bickerston is mentioned in 14th century documents but was abandoned later, possibly by the 17th century. 

Two of the chancel walls are the only standing remains of St Andrew's Church.

Two of the chancel walls are the only standing remains of St Andrew's Church, Barnham Broom. (©NCC)

Barnham Broom’s Church of Saints Peter and Paul (NHER 8885) is located just north of the village and is a medieval church with Victorian renovations. In the medieval period it shared a churchyard with St Michael's church (NHER 8877). No ruins of St Michael's are visible, although a flint wall found in 1984 could be part of it.

Old Hall (NHER 8868), just to the north of Barnham Broom village is a medieval moat and a 15th or 16th century manor house, with 17th and 18th century elements. The house may have been built by Sir Edward Chamberlayn, a courtier of Henry VIII. An undated enclosure (NHER 25911) identified on aerial photographs and located close to the site of Bickerston may be a second medieval moat. Earthworks at Rush Green (NHER 33857), to the south of Barnham Broom village, may indicate the site of medieval properties.

A good number of fields in Barnham Broom have been metal detected and a few have been fieldwalked. Medieval and post medieval finds recovered include metalwork, coins and pottery. They have been found at locations north, east, south and west of the village and north of the River Yare. 

Hollands Hill, a 16th century timber framed hall house.

Hollands Hill, a 16th century timber framed hall house in Barnham Broom. (©NCC)

Post medieval houses in the parish include Hollands Hill, Mill House, Rectory Farm, St Michael’s House, Home Farmhouse and 2, Thatched Cottages. Both Hollands Hill and St Michael’s House began life as a 16th century houses. Mill House (NHER 8884) is early 18th century in date; two arches across the River Yare are all that survive from the mill workings. An 18th century bridge (NHER 44434) crosses the river close by. The site of a windmill is shown on Faden’s map of 1797. A second windmill was first recorded in 1818 and was demolished in about 1940.

A World War Two pillbox (NHER 32438) survives in a wood close to the crossroads. During World War Two (NHER 33831) there was also a military compound, two gun emplacements and a bunker in the east of the village.

David Robertson (NLA), 15th September 2005.

 

Further Reading 

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk (Chichester, Phillimore)

Clavey, D., 2005. 'A History of the Church: The Church of St.Peter & St.Paul Barnham Broom'. Available:

http://www.barnhambroom.churchnorfolk.com/. Accessed 15th September 2005.

Neville, J., 2004. 'Norfolk Mills'. Available:

http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk. Accessed 15th September 2005.

Mills, A.D., 1998. Dictionary of English Place Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press).

Rye, J., 1991. A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place-names (Dereham, Larks Press, Dereham)

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