Record Details

NHER Number:8041
Type of record:Monument
Name:Undated iron working site in Stanninghall Wood


An iron working/extraction site of unknown date, represented by placename evidence, the earthworks of depressions and mounds, and quantities of metal working debris, has been identified within Stanninghall Wood. The workings have been compared to those found on the Cromer – Holt ridge (e.g. NHER 6392, 6280), at least some of which are regarded as dating to the late Saxon to medieval period. The wood itself is classified as Replanted Ancient Woodland; whether the iron working site ever extended beyond its boundaries is unclear. Parts of the site were levelled in the 20th century to make way for new plantings, but substantial earthworks may still survive in the western portion of the wood.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2600 1695
Map Sheet:TG21NE

Full description

Formerly known as Hills and Holes - name often indicates ironworking sites.

Wood removed and replanted - masses of iron slag found, samples of raw material.
R.R. Clarke (NCM).

26 May 1983. Visit.
The replanting must have been confined to the section east of the main road, which is now pine plantations. The section west of road is still deciduous and still full of little depressions and mounds, grown over. Hills and Holes Farm to north now called Hill Farm.
E. Rose (NAU), 26 May 1983.

January 2008. Norfolk NMP.
The iron working site described above is visible on aerial photographs (S1)-(S2) as the earthworks of pits and mounds, centred at TG 2601 1700. The earthworks are visible across much of the area of Stanninghall Wood, the latter as depicted on 19th and early 20th century maps. (Their extent has been mapped using the boundary of the wood shown on the Tithe Map (S3) and the Ordnance Survey 2nd edition 25 inch map (S4), together with the 1946 aerial photographs (S1), but the pits themselves have not been mapped.) The whole of this area has been classified as Replanted Ancient Woodland, suggesting that it has been under woodland cover since at least AD 1600. Whether the iron workings ever extended beyond the boundary of the wood, for example into the area to the southeast (around TG 2609 1681) which has now been planted up and forms part of the wood, is not known. This area was pasture in 1946 (S1), when although indistinct marks are visible within it they are not readily identifiable as archaeological features.

The earthworks have been compared to other iron workings identified on the Cromer – Holt ridge (S5), at least some of which are regarded as dating to the late Saxon to medieval period. A similar date may be plausible for the site described here, although there is no direct evidence either way. As has been described above, the portion of the wood to the east of the road was replanted in the 1950s. This area has clearly been substantially levelled on the 1955 aerial photographs (S2), while the earthworks to the west remain. It should be noted, however, that some conifers – presumably representing deliberate plantings rather than semi-natural woodland – are shown to the east of the road on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 6 inch map (S6), suggesting that there is a long history of plantation (albeit on a smaller scale) in this area.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 9 January 2008.

Monument Types

  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Unknown date)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Unknown date)
  • MOUND (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • MOUND (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • MOUND (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD? to 1065 AD?)
  • PIT (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • IRON WORKING SITE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • MOUND (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Unknown date)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 21 NE 14.
---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 - Miscellaneous. Horstead with Stanninghall.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1636 3216-7 09-JUL-1946 (NMR).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1955. RAF 540/1723 (F22) 0088-9 04-OCT-1955 (NMR).
<S3>Map: Newton and Woodrow. 1841. Horstead with Stanninghall Tithe Map. No scale.
<S4>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-7. Ordnance Survey second edition 25 inch (1902-7) Sheet LI.8. 25" to 1'.
<S5>Article in Serial: Clarke, R. R. 1957. Archaeological Discoveries in Norfolk 1949-54. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXI pp 395-416. pp 415-416.
<S6>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1889 - 1891. Ordnance Survey first edition 6 inch map.. 1:10,560.

Related records - none

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