Record Details

NHER Number:40186
Type of record:Monument
Name:Hedenham Wood


A wood with medieval boundaries and banks. Within the wood are the substantial remains of the medieval moated enclosure of Hedenham Hall (NHER 10638).

Images - none


Grid Reference:TM 313 946
Map Sheet:TM39SW

Full description

2004. Earthwork Rapid Identification Survey.
Norfolk Ancient Woodland Historic Environment Rapid Identification Survey Pilot Study.
Hedenham Wood:
Formerly larger, to the west, the east and part of north and south boundaries are convincingly medieval, with substantial banks. Within are the substantial remains of a moated enclosure (Hedenham Hall; NHER 10638) and associated enclosures and possible fishponds, approached by a causeway from the south.
A part natural watercourse and ponds and extraction pits are noted.
See report (S1) for further information, including detailed descriptions of the individual features identified (Contexts 1-12). The results of this survey are also summarised in (S2).
B. Cushion, June 2004. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 June 2015.

Hedenham Wood is a large area of woodland of 23 hectares. It is depicted on a map of 1617 by Thomas Waterman. Throughout the length of the wood a stream runs north-south. The wood is bisected, east-west, by a substantial bank and ditch. The east-west dividing earthwork divides what appears to be primary ancient woodland, to the north, and secondary woodland to the south. In the southern section of the wood Waterman indicates that there was a clearing, which was the site of a late-medieval high-status residence with a large fish pond. A series of substantial earthworks represent the site of this residence in the south west quarter of the wood, the largest of which runs adjacent to the stream. Within the south western area of the wood there is also a series of small enclosures marked out with banks and ditches; a large amount of nettles in this area indicates that they may have been used for keeping stock. The Tithe Award map of 1839 indicates that the wood originally extended to the west as far as the public road running north from Hedenham Church. However, by the late nineteenth century the wood had settled within its current boundaries.
C. Goodwin (NLA), 26 August 2010.

The wood was still being managed using tradition techniques such as coppicing in the 1890s as described by William carr in his estate notebook. The earthworks and wood are depicted on Thomas Waterman's map of 1617 which shows that the wood originally extended much further to the west reaching the public road from Hedenham to Seething. On Faden's 1797 map and the 1816 enclosure map the wood is also shown to extended as far as the road. By the time of the tithe map in 1838 the wood had been grubbed out and converted to straight-sided arable fields. The new eastern boundary to the wood is defined by a slight bank and ditch with the remains of hawthorne hedge. The wood is bounded to the north, east and parts of the south by a substantial medieval wood bank around 7m wide. In addition the wood is bisected, from east to west, by a second substantial bank with a ditch to the south. In the middle of the southern half of the wood a clearing is marked 'Hell Yards' which is approached from the east by a road or track. This is presumably a corruption of 'Hall Yards', which is probably the site of a late medieval high-status residence featuring a large semi-ornamental fish pond. Many other features indicate a measure of conscious landscape design, most notably the straight wide approach to the south. To the south of the road leading to 'Hell yards' the area forming the south eastern corner of the present wood is described as 'Pytle' indicating that it has been added to the area of the wood relatively recently. The section of wood to the north of this area is shown without trees but is described as 'wood' because it was in separate ownership under Richard Rachman with the rest of the wood being owned by the Bedingfields. The two sections of wood remained in separate ownership until the parliamentary enclosure in 1816.
See (S3).
S. Howard (HES), 3 November 2011.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CAUSEWAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WOOD BANK (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cushion, B. 2004. Norfolk Ancient Woodland Historic Environment Rapid Identification Survey. Pilot Study Final Report. Brian Cushion Archaeological & Cartographical Surveyor.
<S2>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2005. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2004. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 751-763. p 757.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Williamson, T. (UEA). 2011. Woodland at Hedenham Wood and Tindall Wood..

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