Record Details

NHER Number:13527
Type of record:Monument
Name:Fritton Lake or Decoy


This lake, only half of which is in Norfolk, has a long history of different uses. It was originally a medieval peat working site, later used as a bird decoy after it had flooded. The lake was then possibly a World War One seaplane base, and was used in World War Two as a training site. One of the training excercises involved floating tanks across the water, and one tank that sank is still on the bottom. The local museum has parts of two wartime fighter aircraft that crashed into the lake.


  • Fritton Decoy Duck Pond.  © Courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service.


Grid Reference:TG 481 003
Map Sheet:TG40SE

Full description

Only half in Norfolk.
Originally a medieval peat working, converted to decoy after flooding by addition of 'pipes'.
The eastern extension, Lound Run, not included, is a modern reservoir. See (S1).
The depth of this lake has meant that virtually none of its area has become overgrown.
Possibly used as seaplane base in World War One.
Museum on site has parts of two P 47 Thunderbolts which crashed in lake during World War Two.
(S2) gives a description of how the lake was used for training during World War Two, with an anti seaplane cable across it. Tanks were swum across the water; one tank remains at the bottom of the lake. A concrete chamber exists nearby.
E. Rose (NLA), 29 April 1992.

(S3) notes that the decoy was 'prodigiously large' but the tunnels were placed on plain ground rather than under cover, which he thought silly.
E.Rose (NLA), 4 February 2003.

July 2006. Norfolk NMP.
A series of wooden jetties and floating structures and platforms are visible on the Lake in March 1944. These structures would have been associated with the military training exercises that took place on the Lake. These structures have not been mapped. A possible launching area for military crafts has also been recorded on the northern shore of the lake, within Belton Common Wood, see NHER 43356 for details.
S. Massey (NMP), 18 July 2006.

Monument Types

  • PEAT CUTTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DECOY POND (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • LIME WORKS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MILITARY AIRFIELD (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • AIRCRAFT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • WRECK (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Document: Thorogood, P.. 2000. Duck Decoys of Norfolk (UEA BA Dissertation ref HISH 3P2Y).
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Lake's wartime secrets resurface. 21 May.
<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>Article in Serial: Grise, J.. 1992. Fritton Lake in Wartime.. Yarmouth Archaeology. p 13-14.
<S3>Article in Monograph: Wilson, R.. 2002. Journal of a Tour through Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire in the Summer of 1741.. East Anglia's History. Harper-Bill, C.. p 269.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF HLA/686 4206-7 02-MAR-1944 (NMR).

Related records

43698Parent of: A possible area of medieval peat extraction to the west of Fritton Decoy (Monument)
43356Parent of: World War Two flotilla and tank training site at Belton Common Wood and Fritton Lake (Monument)

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