Record Details

NHER Number:5090
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of post-medieval floated water meadows


Site of earthworks related to a late 19th-century floated water meadow, now destroyed by mineral extraction. They were probably created in the 19th century by Nathan Lucas of Lynford Hall. Their creation was part of a larger regional trend for reclamation and landscape improvement schemes carried out by the larger estates. A detailed earthwork survey of the site was undertaken in 1996. Although an archaeological evaluation was carried out prior to the loss of these features, this work failed to reveal any significant evidence.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 824 947
Map Sheet:TL89SW

Full description

Earthwork site now destroyed by quarrying. It is highly likely that these features were the remains of floated water meadows created in the late 18th century by Nathan Lucas of Lynford Hall (S1). The aim of these landscape features was to control the flow of water over an area of pasture during winter in order to stimulate the growth of grass for sheep grazing; irrigation at the end of the spring would then provide a bumper hay crop. These features operated what was known as a 'bedrock' system, with water carried round a series of banks and ditches. The water was fed by a leat, controlled sluices and transported around the site by carriers (grooves) in the tops of the ditches. Information from (S2). See (S3) for further information on the floated water meadows of Norwolk and NHER 31157 for details of a similar feature at West Tofts. Further notes by K. Sussams (SAU) are incorporated with report on site NHER 31242, see (S3) in that file.
K. Sussams (NLA) 31 May 1995. Expanded and amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

Earthworks first recognised, being described as 'ridge and furrow'. It was noted that there was a distance of 4.6m (15ft) between the ridges, which were at this time 0.6m (2ft) high. Information from (S4).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

March/October 1988. Fieldwalking.
Land cleared by Forestry Commission for storage of pine logs and site subject to fieldwalking. Finds recovered now recorded under NHER 58059 (previously Context 2 at TL 8245 9480).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

May 1996. Earthwork Survey.
Survey of surviving earthworks in advance of proposed mineral extraction. See copy of survey by B. Cushion (NLA) in file (S5). This site was included in (S6) and the survey is also noted in (S7).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

January 1999. Visit and field observations.
Site examined by T. Williamson (UEA). See letter in file and annotated plan (one show a hypothetical reconstruction of the meadow, based on the evidence from the earthwork survey).
D.Gurney (NLA) 20 January 1999. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

March 2000. Archaeological Evaluation. Contexts 3-77.
Excavation of ten sondages. Unfortunately no evidence of water control systems for the floated meadow was identifed. See copy of report in file (S8). Finds were limited to nine small worked flints, burnt flints and a single sherd of Iron Age pottery.
D. Gurney (NLA) 19 August 2000. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 29 April 2013.

2002. Watching Brief and Excavation.
Excavation of Palaeolithic butchery site exposed by quarrying. Recorded as NHER 37095.
D. Gurney (NLA) 16 January 2003.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • RIDGE AND FURROW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WATER MEADOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BURNT FLINT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Stanford.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Sussums, K.. 1995. Breckland Archaeological Survey Lynford Floated Water Meadows. 30 May.
<S2>Publication: Sussams, K.. 1996. The Breckland Archaeological Survey. 108-113.
<S3>Article in Serial: Wade-Martins, S. and Williamson, T. 1994. Floated water-meadows in Norfolk: a misplaced innovation?. Agricultural History Review. Vol 42 Pt 1 pp 20-37.
<S4>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Cushion, B. 1996. Proposed Mineral Extraction at Lynford, Norfolk. Report on Archaeological Evaluation. Stage 1: Earthwork Survey. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 174.
<S6>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 190.
<S7>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 554.
<S8>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2000. Report on an Archaeological Evaluation at Lynford Gravel Pit, Mundford. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 499.

Related records

37095Related to: Lynford Middle Palaeolithic Site (Monument)
31157Related to: Post medieval water meadows (Monument)
31242Related to: Site of 19th century water meadows (Monument)

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