Record Details

NHER Number:8387
Type of record:Monument
Name:Hickling Broad


Hickling Broad is part of a high level drainage system which is heavily embanked and stands almost one metre above sea level. It was created by the medieval extraction of clay and peat. A Bronze Age palstave was dredged up here in 1972. The broad was used as a seaplane base during World War One when the Yarmouth Roads were affected by storms.
Hickling Broad is the largest of the Broads, with approximately 202 hectares of water within a larger 485 hectares of water, reed beds and marsh, making this Norfolk largest archaeological site.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 4230 2116
Map Sheet:TG42SW

Full description

Hickling, Blackfleet and Chapman's broads, Catfield Common, White Slea, Heigham Sound.
Medieval peat workings (note straight parish boundaries crossing them). See (S1).

1972. Context 1. [1]
In 1972 a copper alloy looped palstave with shield pattern and central rib (trident), flanges very thin, very corroded, 'transitional' type, found in a barge after being dredged from the river about here.
See (S2) by T. H. Mck Clough (NCM) 1973.
See (S3).

1914 to 1920.
Hickling Broad was used as a seaplane base when Yarmouth Roads affected by storms.
E. Rose (NLA).

August 1993. Fieldwalking finds. Context 2 in Mrs. Myhill's Marsh.[2]
Scatter across field of medieval and post medieval sherds.
Eight sherds of 12th to 15th century pottery.
One sherd of Raeren stoneware, 15th or 16th century.
Identified by W. F. Milligan (NCM).
J. Davies (NCM), 30 September 1993.

September 1993. Fieldwalking finds. [3]
Scatter across field of late medieval or early post medieval and late medieval sherds, six rims, two handles, forty-one body sherds. One sherd of stoneware (Raeren?).
Identified by W. Milligan (NCM).
J. Davies (NCM), 1 November 1993.

Is this location accurate? Has the marsh been reclaimed?
E. Rose (NLA), 9 November 1993.

In 1994 finder states that he in fact found this pottery on site NHER 30324.
Information from J. Davies (NCM).
E. Rose (NLA), 8 February 1994.

Note island now called Pleasure Island, formerly Pleasure Hill and on (S4) as Coolharbour isle - an artificial island like Pleasure Hill in Barton Broad?
E. Rose (NLA), 17 February 1998.

See (S5) in file.
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 May 2003.

March 2005. Norfolk NMP.
The NMP mapping within the wider area of Hickling Broad has been recorded as separate sites, NHER 43721-5. These include discrete areas of peat extraction and associated earthworks that are now located within drained or vegetation encroached areas of the former broad.
S. Massey (NMP), 29 March 2005.

Monument Types

  • CLAY PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PEAT CUTTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PEAT EXTRACTION SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SEAPLANE BASE (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)

Associated Finds

  • PALSTAVE (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
---Map: James Wright. 1840. Potter Heigham Tithe Map. 3 chains: 1 inch.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Bronze Age. Potter Heigham.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Monograph: Lambert, J.M. & Jennings, J.N.. 1960. The Making of the Broads: A Reconsideration of their Origin in the Light of New Evidence..
<S2>Illustration: Clough, T.. 1972. Drawing of a Bronze Age copper alloy palstave.. Card. 1:1.
<S3>Unpublished document: British Museum. National Bronze Index.
<S4>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S5>Unpublished document: Williamson, T.. 2002. Report for Broads Authority.

Related records

43724Parent of: Chapman’s Broad, medieval peat cutting, part of Hickling Broad (Monument)
43723Parent of: Medieval clay and peat workings within Hickling Broad (Monument)
43725Parent of: Medieval peat cutting, originally an extension of Hickling Broad (Monument)
43721Parent of: Medieval peat workings and associated earthworks within Hickling Broad (Monument)

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