Parish Summary: Aslacton

This parish summary provides an overview of the large amount of information which we hold about the parish, and only a representative sample of sites and artefacts from each period are mentioned. If you have any feedback on this article please contact us using the link on the left-hand menu or by emailing heritage@norfolk.gov.uk

Aslacton is a small parish in the south of Norfolk south of Forncett St Peter and west of Great Moulton. The main settlement is at Aslacton itself, but the parish also includes the hamlets of Sneath Common and Pottergate Street. The origins of the village are thought to be Viking – it has been suggested that the settlement was founded by Oslac, a follower of Guthrum the Dane, and this ties into the translation of the village name as ‘farmstead or village of a man called Aslakr’. The parish is rich in Saxon remains and also has several post medieval moated sites.

Evidence of prehistoric activity is scarce in the parish. Fieldwalking has recovered some prehistoric worked and burnt flints and a Neolithic axehead (NHER 10946) was found on the surface of a field in the parish. Similarly Roman remains are scarce although some pottery (NHER 19244) from this period has been recorded.

Finds from the Saxon period are more prolific and this is unusual for Norfolk parishes. Parts of two Early Saxon brooches have been recovered (NHER 2873). A Middle Saxon brooch (NHER 23445) and an unusual Late Saxon brooch (NHER 23444) with a central lozenge and interweaving arms of decoration have also been found. The round tower of St Michael’s church (NHER 10061) is Saxon in date and may have parts of an 8th century AD cross built into the flint structure.  The rest of the church dates to the 14th century and includes a nice example of Flemish 16th century carving on the 19th century pulpit. Other medieval finds include scatters of pottery and metal finds across the parish found by fieldwalkers and metal detectorists. Detecting near World’s End Farm recovered part of a medieval enamelled and gilded cross (NHER 23748) that may have been broken from a crucifix or a reliquary. 

View of the 17th or 18th century timber framed building at Sneath Farm. The building in the left of the picture is Sneath Farmhouse, which dates from the 17th century. The two buildings have now been joined.

A 17th or 18th century timber framed building next to Sneath Farmhouse, Aslacton (©NCC)

There are two post medieval moated sites in the parish – one at Street Farm (NHER 10079) where a moat partly surrounds a later ornate 17th century building. The other is at The Grange (NHER 10964) where a water filled moat still surrounds a 17th or 18th century house. A slightly earlier building at Eagle Farm (NHER 18531) dates to the 16th century but was extended and considerably altered in the 19th century. The post medieval Manor House (NHER 15328) is also 17th century and may have been used as a pilgrimage hostel for those on their way to Massingham Priory. Sneath Farm (NHER 19948) and its threshing barn (NHER 41388) are also 17th century.

More modern remains include the windmill (NHER 10084) and the north end of a runway belonging to Tibenham Airfield (NHER 23222) that was used from 1941 by the United States Air Force and the Ministry of Food. It is now used as a glider field.

 

Megan Dennis (NLA), 2nd August 2005.

 

Further Reading

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk (Chichester, Phillimore)

Mills, A.D., 1998. Dictionary of English Place-Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Norfolk Federation of Women’s Institutes, 1990. The Norfolk Village Book (Newbury, Countryside Book)

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