Record Details

NHER Number:450
Type of record:Monument
Name:Late Saxon cemetery and waterfront buildings, medieval stone house and workshops, St Martin-at-Palace Plain, Magistrates' Courts

Summary

This site sits on the south bank of the River Wensum, in an area now occupied by the Magistrates' Courts. Excavation in 1981 revealed occupation from the Late Saxon period, detailing a number of Late Saxon buildings on the street frontage which were probably warehouses. Also of this period were three Late Saxon burials aligned east to west, possibly suggesting that this is the location of a 'lost' Late Saxon church north of World's End Lane. From the medieval period the exceptionally well-preserved remains of a Romanesque building in flint and stone were recorded, as well as artisan workshops of timber, which were replaced in the 14th century by stone footed buildings. The waterfront appears to have declined from the 12th century onwards. The Romanesque building appears to have gone out of use in the late 13th century but was rebuilt with a brick vault in the 15th century. It may have continued standing, albeit refaced, until after the Second World War. Assemblages of metal and stone objects, as well as pottery sherds from the Middle Saxon to post medieval periods, were recovered together with well-preserved palaeo-environmental data. In addition, excavation uncovered the remains of the erroneously-named late 14th-century 'Calthorpe House' which was demolished in 1962 when a 15th-century bay window was salvaged and eventually reset at 10 St Martin-at-Palace Plain.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2348 0916
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

14 St Martin-at-Palace Plain, 1 and 2 Beehive Yard. Site of the Magistrates' Courts.

January to December 1981. NAU excavation directed by B. S. Ayers.
Residual Middle Saxon material, Late Saxon buildings on street frontage, probably warehouses. Three Late Saxon burials aligned east to west, possibly suggest location of 'lost' Late Saxon church north of World's End Lane.
Late Saxon foreshore consolidated with brushwood and revetments.
Medieval: Romanesque building of flint with Barnack and Caen stone dressings. Survives to more than 2m high.
Artisan workshops of timber replaced in 14th century by stone-footed buildings. Decline of waterfront from 12th century onwards.
Romanesque building continued in use into post medieval period, perhaps standing until after Second World War.
In addition, excavation uncovered the remains of the erroneously-named late 14th-century 'Calthorpe House' which was demolished in 1962 when a 15th-century bay window was salvaged and eventually reset in 1971 at 10 St Martin-at-Palace Plain (see NHER 192).
Air photograph taken by D. Edwards (NAU) during excavations show remains of Romanesque house.
Compiled by B. Ayers (NAU).

Full details of excavation and building see (S5).

A different theory for the identification of Berney's Inn and the origin of the window now at site NHER 192 is given in (S6) p78.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 May 2001.

Monument Types

  • CHURCHYARD (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WAREHOUSE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • BROOCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • KNIFE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PLAQUE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • SHOE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TEXTILE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BROOCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NAIL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOKEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG 2309B-AT.
---Monograph: Curry, A. (ed). 2000. Agincourt: a new history.. p 87.
---Article in monograph: Ayers, B.. 2002. Recent Archaeological Research into Secular Romanesque Buildings in Norfolk.. The Medieval House in Normandy and England.. Bates, D. & Curry, A.. pp 69-76.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Spectacular city heritage which has been hidden from view. 12 February.
---Article in serial: Ayer, B. 1983. Norfolk: Norwich, St Martin-at-Palace Plain. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 28 pp 12-13.
---Unpublished document: NCM Staff. 1973-1989. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card - Norwich.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Photograph: BUA-Z, BWA-N, CSZ, CTK, FPG, FVK.
<S2>Article in serial: 1981. Current Archaeology. Vol 80 pp 278-280. pp 278-280.
<S3>Article in serial: Ayers, B. 1981. Palace Plain, Norwich. NARG News. No 25 pp 1-4.
<S4>Publication: Ayers, B. S. and Lawson, A. J. 1983. Digging Under the Doorstep: Recent excavations in Norwich. pp 22-30.
<S5>Monograph: Ayers, B. 1987. Excavations at St. Martin-at-Palace Plain, Norwich, 1981. East Anglian Archaeology. No 37.

Related records

Site 1574Parent of: 14 St Martin at Palace Plain (1 and 2 Beehive Yard) (Monument)
Mon 1206Parent of: Calthorpe House (Undercroft) (Monument)
Site 2605Parent of: Calthorpe House, St Martin at Palace Plain (Monument)
Mon 984Parent of: Calthorpe House, St Martin at Palace Plain (Monument)
Mon 1207Parent of: Old Common Green (3-7 Ten Bell Lane) (Monument)
34Parent of: Possible 11th to 13th century house, pottery and animal bone (Find Spot)

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