Record Details

NHER Number:4072
Type of record:Building
Name:Litcham Priory

Summary

The site of a medieval hermitage or chapel, a medieval moat and a post medieval house and barn. Priory Farmhouse contains the remains of a 14th century religious building. It may have been a chapel, although in 1410 it was called a hermitage. In the 16th century the religious building was converted into a house and it has been altered and extended on many occasions since. To the northwest of the farmhouse are the remains of a moated site. Much of the moat survive as earthworks, although most of the south and east sides have been infilled. Medieval walls, pottery and a large feature, possibly the south side of the moat, have been found during building work. Houses now stand within the moat. The 17th century and later Priory Barn (now a house) is to the north of the farmhouse and to the east of the moat.

Images

  • Priory Farmhouse dates mainly to the 16th century but incorporates parts of a medieval religious building  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TF 8876 1745
Map Sheet:TF81NE
Parish:LITCHAM, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

14th century chapel, extended as house in 16th to 17th century.
Moated site where footings uncovered Roman sherds. Records of crosses.
For full details see (S1)-(S3) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 28 May 1981.

August 1981. Stray Find.
Found on spoilheap after digging foundations for porch:
Medieval Grimston ware pottery jug. See drawing (S5).
Identified by A. Rogerson (NAU), August 1981. Currently on loan to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : L1983.7). Compiled by E. Rose (NAU), 3 September 1981.
Information from (S6).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 6 August 2018.

February 1992. Laying of electricity cables.
Foundations of large flint wall encountered.
E. Rose (NLA), 14 February 1992.

Called hermitage in document of around 1410.
There were two crosses nearby, exact sites unknown. One was 'over the river to the south of the hermitage', the other 'further soutrh'. Not known if they were religious crosses or boundary markers for the manor.
See (S4).

April 2006. Priory Farmhouse - include the remains of the chapel.
East gable of flint with stone plinth, two massive buttresses, outline of large east window. East end of south wall survives, with large 14th century doorway; rest brick of about 1800. North wall remains as internal wall. Southwest buttress partly inside and partly outside. West wall has two fireplaces on the inside and 17th century brick and flint façade. Inside east wall is a huge 16th century fireplace. Upper rooms 17th century. Extension of 1620.
The moat is to the northwest of the farmhouse. Irregular in shape. Banked high on inside on north and northwest sides. Western side is a ditch, on east and south sides infilled. Houses now built inside - foundation trenches of one seen in 1979, medieval pottery recovered from spoil heaps. In 1981 two flint walls were found within the moat's island during the laying of drains.
Priory Barn - north of the farmhouse. Large, 17th century, flint. Heightened in brick in 18th century. Now a house.
Between farmhouse and moat - 19th/20th century outbuildings now used as restaurant. In 1981 during work on the building a possible yard surface and a large feature, possibly the infilled southern arm of the moat, were discovered.
Information from (S1).
The two crosses mentioned above could be those recorded as NHER 36193 - these crosses were on Litcham Common, putting them to the south or southwest of the hermitage/chapel.
D. Robertson (NLA), 28 April 2006.

(S4) notes in addition that the 17th century section is timber framed and jettied to the north, and the original chapel section has a crownpost roof.
E. Rose (NLA), 30 June 2006.

Monument Types

  • CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HERMITAGE (RELIGIOUS) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED HOUSE (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2100 AD)
  • WALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF8817C-E, F.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TF8817/P - R.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Serial: 1818. Excursions through Norfolk.
---Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1934. The Monastic Remains of Norfolk and Suffolk.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 519.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Litcham.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1981. Building Report. Building Report.
<S2>Map: Finder's Map..
<S3>Photograph: BYX 11-14 (Medieval pot).
<S4>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
<S5>Illustration: [Norwich Castle Museum staff]. 1981. Drawing of a medieval Grimstone ware pottery jug. Film. 1:1.
<S6>Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.

Related records - none

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