Parish Summary: Keswick

This Parish Summary is an overview of the large amount of information held for the parish, and only selected examples of sites and finds in each period are given. It has been beyond the scope of the project to carry out detailed research into the historical background, documents, maps or other sources, but we hope that the Parish Summaries will encourage users to refer to the detailed records, and to consult the bibliographical sources referred to below. Feedback and any corrections are welcomed by email to

Keswick is to the south of Norwich in the South Norfolk district. The village includes two ecclesiastical parishes – Keswick and Intwood. Keswick derives from Old English meaning ‘farm where cheese is made’. The Old English C was later replaced with an Old Scandinavian K. Land in the parish is recorded as being owned by Roger Bigot in the Domesday Book. The manor was an outlier of Hethel and contained a mill. Intwood derives from Old English and means ‘Inta’s wood’. In the Domesday Book Intwood is recorded as having a church. The path of the Norwich southern bypass went through the parish, and therefore many of the fields were fieldwalked and metal detected in advance of the construction of the road. This has helped us to build up a picture of how the landscape was used in the past.

The earliest recorded finds come from gravel pits within the area. Palaeolithic flint tools including axeheads (NHER 9710, 9562, 13992 and 39957) and a scraper (NHER 9703) have been recorded. At one site handaxes, flakes and scrapers (NHER 9560) were found together with some undated animal bones. Mesolithic worked flints (NHER 22871) have also been recovered. Many Neolithic worked flint axeheads and roughouts (NHER 9471, 9704, 9705, 14793, 17039, 21861, 24330 and 30895) have been recorded. Other Neolithic worked flints include a knife (NHER 14096), a fabricator (NHER 18116) and a Neolithic to Bronze Age adze (NHER 16307). Three possible Neolithic flint-working sites (NHER 9708, 17836 and 31555) have been identified. A very complicated prehistoric to Roman site was excavated underneath the Harford Park and Ride car park (NHER 39268). The earliest phases of this site date to the Neolithic. Early Neolithic pits, post holes, gullies and a building were recorded. The discovery of a Neolithic building is extremely rare and this is a very important example. These features later replaced by a Late Neolithic palisaded enclosure, pit groups and two clusters of post holes.

Several Bronze Age ring ditches (NHER 9598 and 16062) have been identified. One of these was excavated in 1929 (NHER 9710) when a complete urn upturned over a human cremation was discovered. Another Bronze Age burial was uncovered at the Harford Park and Ride site (NHER 39268). The Late Bronze Age skeleton was accompanied by two copper alloy axeheads, an iron awl and five pieces of gold leaf. A Bronze Age pot was found in 1829. More recent Bronze Age finds include two Early Bronze Age copper alloy axeheads (NHER 30895 and 32108), a Middle Bronze Age palstave (NHER 11691), a knife (NHER 16222), a blade (NHER 20023) and a cake of copper alloy. There is evidence for Iron Age activity on the Harford site (NHER 39268) where linear ditches, pits and a single ring ditch were excavated. At another site undated prehistoric pits (NHER 31789) were also recorded.

There was also Roman activity on the Park and Ride site (NHER 39268). Here a Roman field system and a possible barn were identified. There is also evidence for a possible Roman road (NHER 9762). A Roman cremation and inhumation (NHER 9714) were exposed during gravel extraction. A metal detectorist found over fifty Roman coins (NHER 31803) on one site and coins (NHER 13991, 14274, 25512 and 28717) are relatively common finds in the area. A large scatter of Roman material (NHER 23776) has been recorded. Brooches (NHER 13992, 24513, 28665 and 31652), including one early first century Hod Hill type (NHER 31652), have also been recovered. More unusual finds include a statuette of a helmeted figure (NHER 32108), part of a snake bracelet (NHER 40248) and a cosmetic mortar (NHER 40437). 

Drawing of a Middle Saxon 'rune disc' from Keswick. The Anglo-Saxon runes read TLIMSUDN. It is not clear what they mean.

A Middle Saxon 'rune disc' from Keswick. The Anglo-Saxon runes read TLIMSUDN. It is not clear what they mean. (© NCC.)

Analysis of aerial photographs has identified what may be Early Saxon grubenhauser, or sunken-featured buildings (NHER 31555). Metal detecting has found Early Saxon brooches (NHER 13991, 25708 and 14274), a wrist clasp (NHER 25706) and a rather unusual copper alloy rod (NHER 29102) with animal head decoration. A Middle Saxon disc (NHER 31652) with Anglo-Saxon runes inscribed on it was found in the River Yare. The inscription on this unusual find has been transcribed as TLIMSUDN but it is not clear what this means. The earliest parts of All Saints’ Church, Intwood (NHER 9514) may be Late Saxon. If so this may be the church recorded in the Domesday Book. The Scandinavian element of Keswick’s name is also reflected in some of the Late Saxon finds. These include a Borre style disc brooch (NHER 25708), an imported 10th century Viking disc brooch (NHER 28665) and a Ringerike style terminal (NHER 28869). A paffrath (ladle) handle (NHER 14274) and ingot and weight (NHER 32108) have also been recorded. 

Drawing of an imported 10th century Viking disc brooch from Keswick.

An imported 10th century Viking disc brooch from Keswick. (© NCC.)

All Saints’ Church, Intwood (NHER 9514) is mostly 12th century. The tower was rebuilt in 1400. All Saints’, Keswick (NHER 9707) is partly built on the site of an earlier, probably medieval church. The round tower of this earlier structure is reused in the more recent building. The site of a medieval manor (NHER 9473) lies under the more recent Intwood Hall. Elizabeth I was entertained at this earlier house. Keswick Mill (NHER 4005) stands on the site of a windmill that was here from at least the 13th century. The timber frame of a post medieval barn may be from an earlier medieval aisled barn (NHER 20711). It has been suggested that the ‘hundreds of human bones’ recorded as being found outside Cattleman’s Inn are the remains of a medieval plague pit. Metal detecting has also recovered many interesting medieval finds including a 12th to 13th century decorative swivel from a dog leash (NHER 25600), a 13th century belt chape depicting a lion and a figure (NHER 18117) and a gilt horse harness pendant in the form of a lion (NHER 28665). A lovely 14th century seal matrix (NHER 31367) depicts a curled up lion with an inscription in Latin meaning ‘ friend loves loyally’.

During the post medieval period the church at Intwood (NHER 9514) fell into disrepair. During the 16th century it may have been used as a sheep shelter. It was restored in 1601 and again in 1852. 16th century timber framed Honeysuckle Cottage (NHER 34067) was used as a parsonage until 1845. Keswick Old Hall (NHER 9761) includes a 17th century porch tower. This was incorporated into a new building designed by Soane in 1800. The icehouse (NHER 24749) formerly in the gardens probably also dates to this redevelopment of the house and gardens. Wilkins built Keswick Hall (NHER 9760) in Regency style in 1817 for the Gurney family. The hall was later sold and used as a teacher training college. Intwood Hall (NHER 9473) was built on the site of an earlier medieval manor in 1835. The building encased an earlier house of 1800. The walled gardens of the park (NHER 30465) around the hall date back to the 16th century. A small 18th century landscape park surrounds these walled gardens. 17th century ditches (NHER 31789) excavated within the park may be garden landscape features. The Lodge (NHER 44271) for the hall was built in 1844. All Saints’ Church, Keswick (NHER 9707) may originally have been built as a mortuary chapel joined onto the older tower between 1893 and 1893. Post medieval finds from the area include a mourning ring (NHER 25600), a pipe clay figurine of an infant in a shell (NHER 14275), a child’s thimble (NHER 28665) and a coin weight from Antwerp (NHER 31803).

The most recent site recorded on the database is a World War Two Home Guard shelter (NHER 32530).

Megan Dennis (NLA), 3 May 2006.


Further Reading

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book, 33 Norfolk, Part I and Part II (Chichester, Philimore)

Hines, J., unknown. ‘An Inscribed Disc from the River Yare near Norwich, Norfolk’. Available: Accessed: 3 May 2006.

Mills, A. D., 1998. Dictionary of English Place Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Neville, J., 2004. ‘Norfolk Mills – Keswick watermill’. Available: Accessed: 3 May 2006.

Neville, J., 2004. ‘Norfolk Mills – Keswick post windmill’. Available: Accessed: 3 May 2006.

Rye, J., 2000. A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place-names (Dereham, The Larks Press)

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