Record Details

NHER Number:3453
Type of record:Monument
Name:Possible Middle Saxon settlement and iron working site


A wide range of Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and medieval pottery fragments have been found in this area, together with iron slag and human bones from disturbed Middle Saxon burials. A Middle Saxon copper alloy stylus has also been recovered. After being fieldwalked in 1996, this area within NHER 17286 was interpreted as a Middle Saxon settlement on the edge of the Middle Saxon cemetery. Iron smelting may have taken place on this site.

Images - none


Grid Reference:Not displayed
Map Sheet:TF61SE

Full description

Note: this site is really part of site NHER 17286 and the records and secondary file for that site should be examined.

[1] records Roman sherds and iron slag here (as on NHER 3460) lying over three Ipswich Ware sherds. Not seen by NCM. Pieces of Thetford ware were also recorded in the field known as 'Godwins' information from (S4).
M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 24 May 2013.

15 July 1975. Site visit.
After harvesting; nothing visible.
E. Rose (NAU), 15 July 1975.

Godwin's Field.
[1]'s own card notes inhumation burials here regularly disturbed by plough, 137m (150 yards) from church, which he suggests are Middle Saxon.
E. Rose (NAU).

1980 to 1981.
Another Roman sherd; and a scatter of Ipswich Ware over two hectares against churchyard wall with a few sherds of Thetford-type. Concentration of iron slag, most dense at 50m northeast of church.
Information from [1]; material not seen.
E. Rose (NAU), 20 November 1981.

22 October 1983. Fenland fieldwalking.
Scatter of iron slag, fire cracked flint and chert and a little pottery. On side of island above present peat line. Area may be dark stained but this not clear. Sparse animal bone. Roman pottery; because of poor conditions, ridged for potatoes, it may be several concentrations conjoined. Also possibly some Ipswich Ware.
Local farmworkers call field Bone Field and say human remains found here (see above).
R.Silvester (NAU), October 1983.

14 October 1986. More fieldwalking.
Extended area of slag; under oilseed rape but conditions reasonable. Odd sherds of Ipswich Ware, most noticeable in concentration at [2] about 30m east to west by 25m north to south. This Middle Saxon pot is within skirtland zone and perhaps covered with peat in medieval period. (see also NHER 17286 and 19167).
R.J. Silvester (NAU) 14 October 1986.

Some sherds re-identified as Early Saxon, Late Saxon and medieval and Iron Age.

For full details of wares, flint types etc see (S1).

October 1990. Found within a few metres of track along southwest edge of site, and 30m from southern edge.
Complete but bent Middle Saxon bronze stylus, four groups of grooves around stem. To be photographed.
Hooked tag with two lobes pierced for attachment, decorated with incised rosette within circular incised field. Middle Saxon.
See (S2).
A. Rogerson (NAU), 25 October 1990.

1996. Fieldwalking by source and students.
Many Middle Saxon sherds, slag, disturbed burials.
See (S3) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 February 1999.

September 2007. ALSF NHER Enhancement Sub-Unit D.
This record is contained within NHER 17286. These form a coherent site and both records should be examined together. They may be related to Middle Saxon sherds found in adjacent NHERs 19167, 19168 and 3460.

Ipswich ware was first recovered from this Middle Saxon site in 1970. A detailed "sherd-by-sherd" survey completed in 1991 recorded a crisply defined area of Ipswich ware extending to 1.8ha next to the edge of the island on a southern-facing slope. St Michael's parish church is close by to the west. The distribution of metal objects matches very closely that of the pottery. The assemblage includes 19 pins and 2 styli as well as 6 sceattas. The latest coin is a denier of Louis the Pious (814 to 840). The likelihood that concentrations of iron smelting slag to the southwest of St Michael's church are Middle Saxon remains unproven. Evidence for Early Saxon activity on the site is sparse. There is also insufficient evidence to indicate occupation continuing into the 10th century, a point borne out by a corresponding lack of Late Saxon metal finds. Exceptions to this are two fragments of a Viking gilt-bronze oval brooch (or possibly a pair) found within an almost sherd-free gap in the Middle Saxon pottery distribution. It may be significant that a spread of human bone coincides with this gap and a Scandinavian burial may be indicated.

The best interpretation of the restricted and short-lived, almost exclusively Middle Saxon site, might be that it is monastic. Its topographic setting is reminiscent of the three probably monastic sites in Suffolk, at Brandon, Butley and Iken. An additional indicator may be the presence of an inhumation cemetery, admittedly unexcavated and undated.
Information from (S4).
M. Dennis (NLA), 23 September 2007.

Monument Types

  • IRON WORKING SITE? (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • IRON WORKING SITE? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • CEMETERY (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • INHUMATION CEMETERY (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • IRON WORKING SITE? (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • MONASTERY? (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Unknown date)
  • SLAG (Unknown date)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Middle Saxon - 651 AD? to 850 AD?)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • STYLUS (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---*Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. WGY 5. FENS.
---Map: Finder's Map..
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 61 SE 22.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Article in Monograph: Rogerson, A.. 2003. Six Middle Anglo-Saxon Sites in West Norfolk.. Markets in Early Medieval Europe: Trading and ' Productive' Sites, 650-850. Pestell, T. & Ulmschneider, K. (ed.).
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Wormegay.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Middle Saxon. Wormegay.
<S1>Archive: Fenland Folders.
<S2>Photograph: NLA. Finds Photograph.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Smallwood, J.. 1996. Park Farm, Wormegay.
<S4>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1972. Medieval Britain in 1970. Medieval Archaeology. Vol XV (for 1971) pp 124-179. p 132.

Related records

17286Part of: Middle Saxon cemetery, possible monastic site and multi-period finds (Monument)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2024 Norfolk Historic Environment Service