Record Details

NHER Number:6387
Type of record:Monument
Name:The Roman Camp, Black Beacon or Irish Beacon


The earthworks of 'Roman Camp' or 'The Beacon' can be seen on aerial photographs taken in 1946, 1967 and 1968-94. Although known as the 'Roman Camp' it is not thought to date back to that period, but it does pre-date the Napoleonic wars, at which time it was used as an alarm post/telegraph station. The medieval iron working site that was also formerly recorded here is now recorded under NHER 38326. This is said to be the highest point in Norfolk.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1836 4141
Map Sheet:TG14SE

Full description

Medieval and Napoleonic beacon and telegraph site, within area of medieval ironworking pits.

1930. Find of Roman or medieval brick.

1952, 1960. Finds of iron slag.

1964. Excavation on ironworking site.
See details in file, also full survey by P. Wade-Martins (NAU) 1986 in file.
E. Rose (NAU) 12 May 1990.

Site not scheduled despite having been issued with monument No.113.
Short description of Monument and its condition:
This was the site of a Medieval Beacon, and possibly the earthworks surrounding date back to earlier times. There is no sort of authority for calling the Beacon "the Roman Camp", a name only given to it during the last 30 years.
In the vicinity are several circular depressions called locally "Hills and Holes", said to be the bases of British bee-hive huts.
The Hundreds of North Erpingham, South Erpingham and Mitford were formerly charged with the repairing and watching of the Beacons of Runton and Trimingham.
Information from (S12).
H. Mellor (HES), 10 July 2018.

Partly in woodland, part rough grass in public open space. Some bracken encroachment. This may be treated.
H. Paterson (A&E) 10 May 2002.

Norfolk NMP. September 2003.
The earthworks of ‘Roman Camp’ or ‘the beacon’ can be seen on RAF aerial photographs from 1946 (S1); MAL aerial photographs from 1967 (S2) and OS aerial photographs from 1968-94 (S3-4). The earthworks are visible in a clearing with the edge of the site possibly hidden by slight tree cover. The site is centred on TG1835 4141 and covers an area of approximately 70m by 40m. This site takes the form of a banked approximately sub-rectangular enclosure, which is aligned north-south. It is located in the light woodland, on a spur, at the highest point of the Holt Cromer terminal morraine at 100m OD. The slopes of the spur fall away to the north, east and west, although the earthwork is set back from the edge of them (and so they are not used defensively). The site looks out towards the sea.
On historic maps this area is labelled in a variety of ways. These are ‘old beacon or watch tower’ on Faden (S5), ‘telegraph station’ on Bryant (S6) and ‘Beacon Hill’ on OS 1st edition (S7) and 2nd edition (S8) maps. While the modern map (S9) lists it as Beacon (site of). The exact origin of the earthwork is uncertain. Although known as the ‘Roman Camp’ it is not thought to date back to that period, but it does pre-date the Napoleonic wars. ('The 'Roman Camp' site was last used as an alarm post during the Napoleonic Wars; on Bryants map of Norfolk (1826) it is clearly marked as 'Telegraph station' and pottery in the upper levels of the nearby pits tend to confirm this date’ (Tylecote, p188) (S10).
The iron working site that was also formerly recorded under this NHER number, is now recorded under NHER 38326.
H. Clare (NMP), 12 September 2003.

Rapid identification Survey. June 2012.
Survey (S11) confirmed that the site is still as described and needs no further enhancement.
K. Powell (HES). 2 July 2012.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BEACON (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • QUARRY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SIGNAL STATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BRICK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Document: Kitchen, F. and Peek, B. 1987. Fire Over England. Norfolk.
---Article in Serial: Tylecote, R. F. 1968. The Phosphorus content of iron from the Bloomery Site at West Runton, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXIV pt III pp 330-331.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 14 SE 9 [5].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Runton (West) [4].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Runton.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1430 4168-9 16-APR-1946 (NMR/Norfolk SMR TG14/TG1841/C).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1967. MAL/67028 079-81 16-APR-1967 (NMR).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1994. OS/94149 030-1 31-MAY-1994 (HER).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1968. OS/68082 011 25-APR-1968 (Norfolk HER TG 1842A).
<S5>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S6>Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
<S7>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1824-1836. Ordnance Survey First Edition 1 inch.. Sheets XI.9, XI.10.
<S8>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. Ordnance Survey Map. 25 inch to the mile. Second Edition. 1:2500. Sheets XI.9, XI.10.
<S10>Article in Serial: Tylecote, R. 1967. The Bloomery site at West Runton. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXIV Pt II pp 187-214.
<S11>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cushion, B. 2012. West Runton and Beeston Regis Heath. Archaeological Earthwork Rapid Identification Survey. Brian Cushion Archaeological & Cartographical Surveyor.
<S12>Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. NHER6387.

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