Record Details

NHER Number:1219
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval occupation site, Baker Lane

Summary

Excavations in 1968-1969 revealed that this site was occupied from around 1150 onwards. The earliest buildings recorded in this area were wattle-walled buildings set back from the street frontage with walled yards to the front and rear. The site became increasingly waterlogged and large quantities of mussel shell were brought in, presumably to improve drainage. The site was flooded and a deep layer of silt was deposited across it around 1270. The building was then occupied by a succession of large timber buildings on the street frontage. By the mid-14th century these timber-built structures had been superseded by buildings with stone foundations, with halls located on the street frontage and stone warehouses to the rear of the tenements. These appear to have gone out of use and were destroyed at the end of the 15th century. The site appears to have been largely unoccupied after this date, perhaps reflecting post-medieval impoverishment of the river frontages as noted elsewhere in King's Lynn. In 1829 a large brewery was erected here.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 6171 1999
Map Sheet:TF61NW
Parish:KING’S LYNN, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1968-1969. Excavation between Baker Lane (previously Wingate) and the Purfleet, which formed the north boundary of the early 12th-century settlement.
Excavation revealed that from around AD 1250, this site had wattle buildings and yards, these deposits represent successive stages in the silting of the Purfleet. In phase II (the latest) a slight structure of driven posts and timber complex A had formed a jetty, and had probably been abandoned in the 14th century, as silting raised the level of the river-bed. These were then succeeded by a stone warehouse in the late 14th century, which was itself replaced by a hall that collapsed in AD 1500. The earliest level, at 4 ft. below mean sea level, contained nothing earlier than the 13th century.
Excavation of this site was completed in 1969 and little material later then the 14th century was recorded. Three ranges of buildings were found to relate to the 13th and 14th century, all of which were built of chalk and rubble. There were two ranges which represent the domestic part of the building complex. Beneath the stone buildings a sequence of wattle-walled buildings, c. 20 to 25 ft. sq. which were fronted directly on to the street. A date of 1150-1250 has been suggested by the developed Stamford ware and Dutch blue-grey handled ladles. Pottery from Grimston, Stamford, Lyveden, and south-west and north of France, a scythe, needles, spindle-whorls, buckles, knives and various leather and wooden objects were found. Also discovered was a large quantity of animal bone includes fish (especially cod) and other organic material. The site was then unoccupied until 1829.
See (S1), (S2) and (S3) for further information.
E. Rose (NAU) amended by M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 11 July 2013.

1968-1969. Excavation between Baker Lane (previously Wingate) and the Purfleet, which formed the north boundary of the early 12th-century settlement.
The earliest evidence from this site dates from around 1150 to 1250 (Period I). Most of the evidence for this period comes from the southernmost part of the site, close to Baker Lane. The first recognisable building was a small wattle-walled building set back approximately 20 feet from the street frontage and had a walled yard at the front and back. This was succeeded by another similar building at approximately the same location. Some scrappy wattle walls which pre-date these buildings are likely to relate to similar fenced yards, one of which was probably associated with a cobblers' workshop. The site appears to have been becoming increasingly waterlogged during this period which may explain the huge quantities of mussel shell which may have been used to attempt to improve drainage, and the excavation of an open drainage ditch to the west of the site. Dating of this phase of activity is based on pottery, the earliest of which is a little Grimston Thetford-type ware with transitional Stamford-type ware which suggests a date of around 1150. The end of this phase seems to coincide with the deposition of silt across the site by the floods of around 1270.
The second phase of activity on this site followed the deposition of silt across the site and dates from around 1250 to 1350 (Period II). Between 1250 and 1300 activity on the site comprises the erection and modification of a succession of large timber buildings on the street frontage. In the easternmost tenement a building measuring 4.9m (16 feet) by 7.3m (24 feet) fronted onto the street and to the rear and separated from each other by yards were an animal pen or shed and a 4.25m-square hollow, possibly a kitchen but perhaps another animal pen. Along the eastern side of this easternmost tenement was a cobbled passage. In the westernmost tenement a group of pits were excavated through the flood-deposited silt. Hearths were found both within these buildings and outside in their yards. These timber buildings were succeeded on both tenements by domestic and warehouse buildings with stone foundations. On the easternmost tenement was an L-shaped hall and chamber block which consisted of two ranges roofed at right-angles of the type known at 8 Purfleet Street (NHER 19447). The rear (hall) range measured 5.5m (18ft) by 13.7m (45ft) internally, was single storied and heated by a central hearth. It appears to have been entered via a passage and door on its eastern side. The street range appears to have been two-storied. On the westernmost tenement the evidence is more ephemeral and suggests a timber-framed hall which pre-dates the stone-built hall on the adjacent tenement. A rear range with stone foundations appears to be contemporary with the timber-framed hall and perhaps served as a two-storied parlour or chamber block. Adjacent to this was a square stone-lined cess pit. To the rear of the tenement was a warehouse with stone foundations and a fragmentary mortar floor.
The third phase of activity on the site (around 1350 to 1500, Period III) started with minor modifications being made to the stone hall on the easternmost tenement, including rebuilding of the north wall and several phases of re-flooring. This period ended with the destruction of the hall in the late 15th century.
Post-medieval evidence from this site is sparse, perhaps suggesting that this site was abandoned or occupied only by rather meagre buildings. The only evidence from this period relates to the strengthening of the Purfleet wall in the 16th century and the remains of what may have been an 18th century house on the easternmost tenement. Documentary evidence indicates that by 1822 the whole northern side of Baker Street from this site eastward was in single ownership. By 1829 the medieval pattern of property boundaries had been obliterated by the construction of a large brewery.
See (S1) for further information, plans and section drawings.
A. Cattermole (King's Lynn UAD), 6 March 2019.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • CLAY PIT (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • FENCE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • HEARTH (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • LEATHER WORKING SITE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • OCCUPATION LAYER (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • YARD (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • CISTERN (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • FENCE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • HEARTH (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • JETTY (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • KITCHEN? (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • PEN (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • ROBBER TRENCH (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • SHED? (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • SOAKAWAY (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • YARD (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • CESS PIT (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • FLOOR (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • HALL HOUSE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • HALL HOUSE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • HEARTH (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • WAREHOUSE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • WAREHOUSE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1500 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD to 1599 AD)
  • RIVER DEFENCES (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD to 1599 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1650 AD to 1800 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARREL PADLOCK (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • BAT (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • CLENCH NAIL (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • CURFEW (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • SHOE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • SHUTTLE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • SKEWER (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • SPINDLE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • SPOON (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • TEXTILE (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • TRENAIL (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • WEFT BEATER (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • WEIGHT (Medieval - 1150 AD to 1250 AD)
  • BARREL PADLOCK (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • BAT (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • CAME (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • CLENCH NAIL (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • CURFEW (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • DIE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • DRIPPING DISH (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • GAMING PIECE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • MORTAR (VESSEL) (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • PUNCH (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • RIDGE TILE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • RING (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • SCABBARD (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • SHOE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • SKEWER (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • STAPLE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • STRAP END (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • THIMBLE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • TRENAIL (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • WEFT BEATER (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1250 AD to 1300 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1252 AD to 1284 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • CLENCH NAIL (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • CURFEW (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • JETTON (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1330 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • RIDGE TILE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • SKEWER (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • WEFT BEATER (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Medieval - 1300 AD to 1350 AD)
  • AWL (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • BARREL PADLOCK (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • PURSE (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • SHOE (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • TRENAIL (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • WEFT BEATER (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Medieval - 1350 AD to 1500 AD)
  • JETTON (Medieval - 1375 AD to 1390 AD)
  • JETTON (Medieval - 1450 AD to 1475 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Monograph: Clarke, H. & Carter, A.. 1977. Excavations in King's Lynn 1963-1970.. pp 43-99.
<S2>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1971. Medieval Britain in 1968. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XIII (for 1969) pp 230-287. p 266.
<S3>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. & Hurst, D. G. 1971. Medieval Britain in 1969. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XIV (for 1970) pp 155-208. pp 183-184.

Related records - none

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