Record Details

NHER Number:4455
Type of record:Monument
Name:Roman farmstead


Earthworks and parchmarks of a Roman farmstead settlement can be seen on aerial photographs. Survey of these features as part of the Fenland Survey identified two enclosures, two raised platforms and two small ditched circles. These are the remains of a small farmstead and associated fields. The platforms are probably the site of buildings. The ditched circles may be raised haystacks with an external ditch to aid drainage. Pieces of late 3rd and 4th century AD Roman pottery were found in molehills on the site during the survey. It is very unusual for this type of farmstead to survive as earthworks.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 6405 9805
Map Sheet:TL69NW

Full description

1947. RAF vertical aerial photograph.
Field system with ?hut site shown.
Possibly Roman but no positive evidence.
Also small field and garden plots, and three ditched circles.

8 March 1958.
Investigated by R.R. Clarke (NCM).
See (S1).

Note that these markings do not appear on 1946 RAF aerial photograph as the field was at that time flooded. This makes it unlikely that the ditched circles are Bronze Age.
A.J. Lawson (NAU), 1979.

Perhaps more of Riley's ditched haystacks?
E. Rose (NAU).

See (S2) for Riley's interpretation of ring ditches in the silt fens being the remains of ditched haystacks raised above the level of the fen to increase drainage.
M. Dennis (NLA), 24 February 2006.

22 June 1975. Ordnance Survey air photography.
Parchmark cropmarks. Building.
D. Voisey (NLA), 6 March 1995.

1 April 1987. Visit. Fenland Survey. HLG 3.
Two pasture fields (Grassland 2). Thin covering of peat on gravelly sandy soil, this is a fine site. Excellent condition except drainage ditches have been cut diagonally across more easterly field.
Few sherds undated pottery from molehills adjacent main enclosure.
See (S3).
R. Silvester (NAU), 1 April 1987.

These earthworks survive in level fields of permanent pasture as shallow gullies averaging about 0.5m in depth. The main rectangular enclosure truncated by plough at the south end measures overall around 120m square and contains one certain house steading. Extending to the east are several less distinct meandering gullies forming no coherent pattern or purpose. The three ditched circles are not visible on available air photographs or on the ground. The works are consistent with a probable 18th/19th century farmstead; there is no ground evidence or finds from nearby plough to suggest an earlier date.
Information from (S4).
R.J. Rickett (NAU), 29 March 1990

1989 to 1990. Resistivity Survey. Fenland Evaluation Project. Further fieldwork.
Resistivity survey on the best preserved house platform, augering to ascertain water table, and obtain soil samples, level traverse across ditches.
See (S5).
M.D. Leah (NAU), August 1990

Site scheduled.
Interpreted as Roman house platforms, droves and stack stands. Schedule does not include all of site as marked on NHER maps, but in fact does include all upstanding earthworks. Schedule states that sherds of 3rd to 4th century AD pottery 'have been found' but does not say by whom or where.
See (S6).
E. Rose (NLA), 13 February 1995.

For full details of wares, flint types, etc see (S7).

22 July 1996. NLA air photography.
Earthworks visible.
H. Clare (NLA), 4 December 2001.

Monument Types

  • BUILDING (Unknown date)
  • EARTHWORK (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC) (Unknown date)
  • CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • EARTHWORK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HOUSE PLATFORM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC) (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TOFT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Undated)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Higher Level Stewardship

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: RAF AP CPE UK 1952 RR 4155, CUCAP= TL 6497/D.
---*Fieldwork: Fenland Survey. HLG 1. FENS.
---Aerial Photograph: OS 75-269-210.
---Aerial Photograph: OS 75-269-211.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TL 6398A - G.
---Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 5.
---Unpublished Document: Leah, M. D. (NAU) and Mathews, M. (NAU). 1990. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission Dossier.
---Monograph: Silvester, R. J. 1991. The Fenland Project, Number 4: The Wissey Embayment and the Fen Causeway, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 52.
---Monograph: Phillips, C.W.. 1970. The Fenland in Roman Times.. p 241.
---Article in Serial: Silvester, R. J. 1988. Settlement Earthworks at Hilgay and the Ring Ditches in the Silt Fens. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XL Part II pp 194-198.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF100.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF100.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Hilgay.
<S1>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S2>Article in Serial: Riley, D.N.. 1946. Groups of circles in the silt fens.. Antiquity. Vol XX, pp 150-153.
<S3>Photograph: Hilgay 3 (NHER 4455) Tracing from CUC Photo. 1:2500..
<S4>Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TL 69 NW 11 [2].
<S6>Designation: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
<S7>Archive: Fenland Folders.

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