Record Details

NHER Number:32157
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Gage's Broad


The site of Gage’s Broad, a medieval peat cutting, is known from map evidence to have been at this location. The Hare Broad was also located to the northwest, see HER 32158 for details. The Commissioners Drain, associated with the Parliamentary Enclosure of Hickling in 1808, drained these broads. The aerial photograph evidence indicates that the original extent of these Broads, plus and surrounding smaller peat cuttings, was formerly more extensive than the available historic maps suggest.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 4291 2286
Map Sheet:TG42SW

Full description

Site of Gage's Broad.
Drained in late 18th/early 19th century when Commissioners' Drain was cut.
See (S1) in file.
E. Rose (NLA) 3 January 1997.


March 2005. Norfolk NMP.
The two areas of Hare’s Broad and Gage’s Broad have been recorded together for the purposes of the NMP mapping (S2-S4). Other nearby Broads, such as Horsey (HER 13507) and Heigham Sound (HER 8387) are thought to largely be the product of clay extraction, this has also been suggested for Wiggs Broad and the other nearby Broads, such as Gage’s Broad (NHER 32157) on the silt marshes of the Thurne head waters (S7; p 87). However the soils map for the area of this site would indicate that these pits would have been predominantly cut for peat extraction.

An additional area of possible former medieval extraction has been identified on aerial photographs within the Poor Allotment, Cotton’s Marsh and extending eastwards towards Brayden Marshes (S2-4). The site is centred on TG 4314 2278. These are visible as amorphous shaped darker, wetter and slightly sunken areas on the photographs. Many of these appear to be linked by channels. Larger features showing these characteristics have also been identified within the area, such as at Eastfield Marsh to the north (HER 35363), and comparison with historic maps has indicated that these areas correspond with former Broads and extraction areas, see NHER 35363 for details.

The Broads, as indicated by the aerial photographs, fall roughly into four larger cuttings, surrounded by smaller extraction areas. The northern broad, centred on TG 4285 2317, runs alongside the edge of the slightly higher arable land off Eastfield Farm and then curves around to the south and measures approximately 950 km long. The pre-Enclosure map reproduced by Williamson (S7; p97) would suggest that this is Hares Broad, although Faden’s 1797 depiction (S9) shows this Broad as being a longer, narrower lake continuing to the west. An obviously wetter area of woodland visible in 1946 (S2), centred on TG 4223 2340, may indicate part of this former cutting.

In the centre of the group is a large C-shaped Broad, centred on TG 4323 2285. The southern half of this corresponds almost exactly with the body of water depicted on the Tithe map of 1842 (S8). This large cutting and the others visible on the aerial photographs are roughly consistent with the location and extent of the former Broads as depicted in the pre-Enclosure landscape of Hickling reproduced by Tom Williamson (1997:Figure 33) (S7). Although the Hares and Gage’s Broads are both shown as narrow sinuous lakes on Faden’s and Bryant’s maps (S9-S10). This could suggest repeated fluctuations in the shapes and extent of the Broads, rather than just a gradual silting and reduction in size. Although it may also be indicative of lack of interest in the actual shape of these Broads by the surveyors of the larger scale maps, such as Faden and Bryant, where areas of common were often just depicted as open expanses.

The available map evidence does not document the existence of the southern and eastern groups of cuttings. Although they are showing quite clearly on the aerial photographs, in particular the curvilinear cutting which links Cotton’s Marsh and Brayden Marshes. Despite the lack of corroborating map evidence, comparison with the appearance of these features with other known Broads, would suggest that these are similar features.

A series of channels run in-between these cuttings, many of these are likely to be natural channels, although some may have been canalised and re-cut to an extent. One channel appears to be cut into the former Broad and is therefore later. Other channels and drains are visible, centred on TG 4353 2254, but these are also likely to post-date the medieval peat extraction activity and relate to the Post medieval draining of the marshes.

Within these larger shallow extraction areas are noticeably deeper and angular and oblong cuts, in particular centred on TG 4313 2289, TG 4331 2277 and TG 4324 2258. These may represent different phases of extraction or possibly the differential removal of layers. It is possible that these are later post-medieval removal of the surface peat and may be comparable to other groups of features to the north and west (NHER 27282 and 43707-9).
S. Massey (NMP), 29 March 2005.

Monument Types

  • DRAINAGE DITCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PEAT CUTTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PEAT EXTRACTION SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Manning, M. (ed). 1988. Commons in Norfolk: historical and ecological studies of selected commons.. p 4.
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 4053-4 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 4421C, TG 4422A).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 4101-3 09-JUL-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 4222A-B, TG 4322A).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1955. RAF 82/1214 (F22) 0334-6 06-JUN-1955 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1973. CUCAP RC8AK 213-4 29-JUN-1973 (CUCAP).
<S6>Unpublished Document: Williamson, T.. 2002. Report for Broads Authority.
<S7>Monograph: Williamson, T.. 1997. The Norfolk Broads: A Landscape History..
<S8>Map: Pratt & Son, Norwich. 1842. Hickling Tithe Map.
<S9>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S10>Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.

Related records - none

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