Record Details

NHER Number:14402
Type of record:Monument
Name:Earthworks of medieval settlement


The earthworks of a series of medieval settlement enclosures, a possible moat, routeways, boundaries and possible ridge and furrow, are visible on aerial photographs to the south of Lyng House, Primrose Green. It has been suggested that these features formed part of a medieval common edge settlement. A number of earthworks relating to boundaries and routeways of a comparable date have been recorded on aerial photographs within the area, see NHER 31319 and 50738-9.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 0717 1606
Map Sheet:TG01NE

Full description

1972. Ordnance Survey air photograph shows enclosure boundary features.
1977. NAU aerial photography (S1). Possible moat cut on east by road. From pond on Ordnance Survey (now dry) depression runs south with banks on both sides, traces of a south arm return east.
E. Rose (NAU), 11 January 1979.

1995. Site extended to cover all the field in which original features noted and small area to northwest in adjacent field.
A series of scarps, banks and ditches, form mostly incomplete enclosures, with the original near rectangular ditched enclosure probably a toft abutting the common edge to east. Northeast corner of field has probable road/common edge scarp as a gently curving feature. One north to south bank/ditch extends to ponds in south corner of field. Disturbed area in north of field has possible building platform but not totally convincing.
Enclosure boundary ditches to northwest.
B. Cushion (NLA), July 1995.

February 2003.
In good pasture field, grazed by sheep and cattle in summer months.
H. Paterson (A&E), 12 February 2003.

Management Statement signed 21 February 2003.
Copy in office file.
H. Paterson (A&E), 24 February 2003.

The central grid reference for the site has been altered from TG 0722 1613 to TG 0714 1610.

December 2007. Norfolk NMP.
The earthworks of a series of medieval settlement enclosures, a possible moat, routeways, boundaries and possible ridge and furrow, are visible on aerial photographs to the south of Lyng House, Primrose Green (S1-S3). The site is centred on TG 0714 1610. A number of earthworks relating to boundaries and routeways of a comparable date have been recorded on aerial photographs within the area, see NHER 31319 and 50738-9.

It has been suggested above that some of these features formed part of a medieval common edge settlement; the edge of the common being defined by a broad linear hollow way or road to the northeast of the site. The location of the common on Faden’s map of 1797 (S4) which is to the east around Primrose Green itself, would suggest that the boundary must form the outer eastern edge of the common. Although on the 1810 Lyng Enclosure map (S5) the earthwork appears to mark the edge of a small area of common land alongside the main and remaining road. Although it is likely that the edge of the common had changed significantly prior to the surveying of the Faden map and it is possible that the common extended to the north and east. If the broad linear earthwork does form the western edge of common this would suggest that the ditched enclosure was located on the inner edge of the common itself, rather than alongside it.

The main component of the site is a rectangular ditched and banked enclosure, centred on TG 0729 1614. The enclosure measures 53m long by 35m wide, although its original width is likely to have been greater, but the enclosure is cut but by the modern road. The ditches defining this enclosure are between 3-5m wide and it was originally interpreted as a moated site. The width of the ditches could support this interpretation. Although the location of the site on the higher ground, away from the River Wensum or any of its tributary valleys, might indicate that it may not have been a moated site. However the site is located at the Diamicton glacial deposit and therefore may have a high quantity of boulder clay, a number of clay extraction pits are marked on the Ordnance Survey first edition map to the north of the site. The high number of small ponds, probably water-filled extraction pits, on this higher ground would also suggest a significant clay deposit. A number of ponds, many of which are now dry, are located in the vicinity of the enclosure, including one to the immediate north of the enclosure, although some of these may be artificially fed and maintained for the needs of the farms and stock. The interpretation of the site as a ditched toft or similar domestic enclosure would appear more likely given the setting. As mentioned above a broad linear hollow, 10m across, leads towards or alongside the enclosure; the construction of the modern road has obliterated the relationship between the two.

To the east of the modern road in 1946 (S2) a possible continuation of the line of the southern enclosure ditch may be visible, with a return to the north, forming two additional arms of a trapezoidal enclosure, approximately 63m across, however it was decided due to the nature of the features visible that this represented the line of a relatively modern fence or similarly narrow land division.

To the east of modern road that bisects the enclosure is another group of earthworks, consisting of a low bank surrounded by a series of narrow ditches. It seems likely that these earthworks represent the remains of agricultural features and it is possibly that they post-date the medieval enclosures and boundaries to the east. A number of buildings, no longer standing, are marked on the 1810 Lyng Enclosure map (S5) alongside the modern road and one to the northwest of the eastern field at TG 0715 1621 (S5). None of the earthworks immediately appear to be related to these buildings and, in the case of the earthworks at TG 0715 1621, would definite appear to pre-date the structure.

The remainder of the site consists of a series of medieval to post medieval boundaries and agricultural features, such as possible remnants of ridge and furrow. The majority of these earthworks are located in the larger, western field. Many of the ditched and banked earthworks appear to follow the post medieval field layout, in particular that depicted on the 1820 Enclosure map (S5) and are therefore potentially a later addition to the site, perhaps representing expansion onto previously common areas. One of these straight boundaries (marked on 1810 map) appears to cut across a series of more sinuous medieval track that leads towards the main enclosure to the east of the site. A series of parallel ridges within the southwestern part of the western field have the appearance of ridge and furrow, although their straightness and their relationship with the post medieval fields, would suggest that they may be of post medieval in date, rather than indicating medieval plough furrows. An earlier bank runs obliquely across this more regular field pattern and this feature is likely to be medieval or late medieval in date.

In 1988 (S3) the western field clearly still contains earthworks, whereas some of the earthworks within the eastern area may have been levelled somewhat, most significantly the moated site. The field appears to have been recently cut and perhaps has been put into cultivation or used for hay or silage production. Although the management agreement states that the site is pasture in 2003 (see above), although this may only refer to the larger, western field. Within the eastern field in 1988 the main hollow way running from the road towards the enclosure is still earthwork and traces of the one of the boundaries running southwest to northeast are still visible. The survival of some of the earthworks may suggest that if the field has been put into cultivation that by 1988 at least it has not completely destroyed all earthworks.
S. Massey (NMP), 05 December 2007.

Monument Types

  • DRAINAGE DITCH? (Unknown date)
  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • HOUSE PLATFORM (Unknown date)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Undated)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOLLOW WAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RIDGE AND FURROW? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • ROAD? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS 72 288 243.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 0716A-E (NLA 38/AHA1-5) 27-MAY-1977.
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 3G/TUD/UK/51 5194-6 31-JAN-1946 (NHER TG 0615B, TG 0715A, C).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS Surveys Limited. 1988. BKS 0307-8 07-AUG-1988 (NCC 3422-3).
<S4>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S5>Map: Corby, R.. 1810. Lyng Enclosure Map. 1 inch: 6 chains.

Related records - none

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