Record Details

NHER Number:38486
Type of record:Monument
Name:Possible post medieval enclosure or sea defence

Summary

The earthworks of possible post medieval enclosure or sea defence are visible on aerial photographs, situated on the Strond alongside the inter-tidal Blakeney harbour channel. This enclosure may also relate to the post medieval or even modern mussel industry, possibly acting as an artificial mussel bed. Other inter-tidal structures have been identified to the west within the channel (NHER 27739 and 38487 to 38489). NHER 27739 consists of a large complex of cobble and shingle-built enclosures and structures relating to the post medieval mussel industry in the Blakeney Harbour channel (NHER 27739).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 9953 4533
Map Sheet:TF94NE
Parish:MORSTON, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

March 2004. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of possible post medieval enclosure or sea defence embankment are visible on Ordnance Survey aerial photographs from 1973 (S1), situated on the Strond alongside the inter-tidal Blakeney harbour channel. This enclosure may also relate to the post medieval or even modern mussel industry, possibly acting as an artificial mussel bed. Other inter-tidal structures have been identified to the west within the channel (NHER 27739 and 38487 to 38489). NHER 27739 consists of a large complex of cobble and shingle built enclosures and structures relating to the post medieval mussel industry in the Blakeney Harbour channel (NHER 27739). The site may be located to far into the inter-tidal area to have ever acted as a sea defences bank, as it located so far from the reclamed saltmarsh to the south. Therefore it seems more likely that the earthworks relate to mussels or a similar industry.

Information has been provided by [1] concerning the modern and 19th century mussel industry in this part of the channel. A modern post-war mussel bed was constructed on the Strond or South Side near this location. This was constructed from low walls with a core of wooden posts. It is therefore possible that this site may be post-war in date, although the post medieval mussel grounds were in a similar locations so evidence of earlier industries may well still be visible. It is worth mentioned with regards speed of change and silting in these environments, the large possibly post-war enclosure recorded on the aerial photographs is no longer visible on the ground according to source [1]. Therefore older structures relating to the mussel and fishing industry may be well covered by silts and sands by this date. The course of the Blakeney channel is known to have altered significantly in the last few centuries. This channel has lengthened and shifted almost 3km to the west since the late 16th century (S2), taking in the location of the structures. The changes were caused by the shifting formation of a large shingle spit to the north, plus a reduced tidal discharge and scour caused by the reclamation of the surrounding saltmarsh.

The enclosure is centred on TF 9953 4531. Although due to a lack of control points to aid the location of the feature from the aerial photographs, it is possible that this grid reference may be inaccurate. Hopefully the NAU Coastal Field Survey will provide further locational information for the site.

The main component of the site is a large embanked enclosure. Its maximum measurements are 80m long and 50m wide, although it appears that only part of the site is visible, probably due to silting. The low 'banks' defining this site are up to 6.5m wide. These features are referred to as banks although the actual construction cannot discerned from the aerial photographs for definite. It is possible that they are flint cobbles (see NHER 27739 for nearby flint cobble structures). It is possible that any walls may have become covered with deposited material, especially if the channel has shifted away from the site. The western end of the site consists of a roughly 42m square enclosure, although the area appears to be open to the south. To the east of this three roughly parallel banks have been constructed to the south. Two of these banks start to curve around to the east, in particular the longest/western bank. Again the impression is gained that not all of the features are visible on the aerial photographs.

Conjoined to the eastern end of the northern bank is a dark, submerged linear feature, 66.5m long and up to 5m wide. This continues out into the channel and very little of the structure can be viewed clearly. It is possible that this is also of banked or cobbled construction, although it may be of post, stake or wattle component. Further elements of this part of the site may be visible as submerged features on the 2002 Environment Agency aerial photographs (S3) recorded under NHER 38488. Although the aerial photograph recitifications would indicate that they are not located in the same part of the channel. However this may be a product of inaccurate coastal rectifications from two different sets of aerial photographs.
S. Massey (NMP), 3 March 2004.

May to November 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Survey inter-tidal survey.
Soft and dangerous mud meant that it was only possible to survey the area of the site from distance. It was not possible to identify any features.
D. Robertson (NLA), 27 June 2006.

Monument Types

  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SEA DEFENCES? (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • OYSTER BEDS (Post Medieval to Modern - 1540 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1973. OS/73244 238-9 05-JUN-1973.
<S2>Publication: Hooton, J.. The Glaven Ports. p. 111ff. pp 13-22.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Environment Agency. 2002. EA 035 AF/02C/339 5858-9 19-JUL-2002 (EA).

Related records - none

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