Record Details

NHER Number:13293
Type of record:Monument
Name:Lambridge Covert


Waxham is known to be the location of one of the earliest duck decoys in the country, established in the reign of James I (1603-25). Lambridge Covert has previously been suggested as the location of this decoy. However an alternative and more realistic location for this site has been identified on aerial photographs to the southeast on Waxham marsh (NHER 42091). The cropmarks previously recorded under this number are now listed under NHER 27710 and 27711, 42038, 42056 and 42066 to 420699.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 4322 2595
Map Sheet:TG42NW

Full description


4 March 1972. Ordnance Survey air photography. Soil marks, linear, curvilinear.
Marks of possible decoy ditches adjacent to Lambridge Covert, may be extension of another decoy adjacent the known site (S1).
D. Edwards (NAU), 20 August 1980.

Lambridge Wood is said to be the oldest decoy in England, set up in the reign of James I.
E. Rose (NAU), 1978 (information from old card).

Air photograph not seen by E. Rose. The marks would be very large for a decoy that early.
E. Rose (NAU), 21 August 1980.

28 June 1996. NLA air photography. National Grid Reference amended from TG 4280 2550.
Two ring ditches visible, one at TG 4291 2544 and another at TG 4326 2620. These may both be Bronze Age.
The linears previously identified continue to the north of the covert/decoy. One of these linears is quite broad and has a causeway in its length.
Several double-ditched linears can be seen; these are likely to be trackways.
S. Massey (NLA), 9 October 2001.


September 2005. Norfolk NMP.
Waxham is known to be the location of one of the earliest duck decoys in the country, established in the reign of James I (1603 to 25). Lambridge Covert has previously been suggested as the location of this decoy. However an alternative and more realistic location for this site has been identified on aerial photographs 1.5km to the southeast on the Brograve Levels (NHER 42091). This is visible as soilmark and cropmark of a wetter and darker soil within the marshes and the size, shape and location of this feature corresponds with a decoy pond marked on Faden’s map of 1797 (S2). The decoy visible on Faden has been assumed to correspond to the early William Woodhouse in a recent work on duck decoys in Norfolk (S4).

The shape and character of the cropmark response over this feature would imply that this was the site of a former water-filled cut and is extremely reminiscent of the nearby medieval peat extraction sites, such as NHER 35363. It is therefore possible that a former medieval peat cutting was later used as a duck decoy after flooding, possibly having artificial pipes added to it in the early 17th Century. The decoy on Faden is in an isolated location on the Waxham Marshes and this fits well with the description of the Waxham Decoy given by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey in the late nineteenth century that states it was ‘in a large marsh near the sea-coast’. When he visited the site of the decoy the marsh was recorded as having been drained, and the site of the pool planted with osiers (S3).

On Faden’s map the site of Lambridge Covert is depicted using the same conventions as the surrounding fen and marsh on Faden’s map of 1797 (S1), however the boundaries or drains marked indicate that a parcel of land the same shape as the Lambridge Covert was enclosed. It is likely that only well-established woodlands, in particular those associated with parkland were depicted this map. No woodland or boundaries are depicted at the location on the Bryant map of 1826 (S5). However again this is likely to be a product of mapping conventions, as the woods are clearly marked on the early nineteenth century Waxham Enclosure Map (S6). This map is undated, but must have been surveyed between 1820 and 1840, as the Waxham New Cut is marked and this navigable channel was dug in the 1820s (NHER 35366). It must have also pre-dated the 1840 Waxham Tithe map (S7), on which the woodland is also clearly shown. It is therefore possible that the woodland dates back to at least the late eighteenth century. When Payne-Gallwey visited these woods late in the nineteenth century it seems unusual that his description does not mention the reasonably well-established woodland, although it is possible that he is only referring to the actual pool itself, which may have been within the woodland. However the positioning on the very edge of the marsh and in close proximity to Waxham Hall does not fit well with his description of it being ‘in a large marsh’, which more readily matches the location of NHER 42091.

No obvious sign of a decoy or any features other than drainage ditches were visible on the aerial photographs, This is unsurprising given the tree cover and the recorded encroachment of willows onto the pool in the later nineteenth century. The only possible feature noted on the photographs was a slight circular thinning of the trees in the centre of the woods in 1972 (S1). This could possibly represent the location of a former pool or curvilinear drainage feature, where the woodland is less established, although the aerial photograph is not conclusive. A site visit would be needed to establish whether any such feature exists. On the available aerial photograph evidence the site of NHER 42091 seems the most likely location for the Waxham Duck Decoy.
S. Massey (NMP), 31 September 2005.

Monument Types

  • DECOY POND? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 4225C-D (NLA 365/JFC7-8) 28-JUN-1996.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. NHER TG 4326AV-AX (NLA 365/JFC9-11) 28-JUN-1996.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS/72001 49-50 04-MAR-1972 (NMR).
<S2>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S3>Monograph: Payne-Gallwey, Sir R.. 1886. The Book of Duck Decoys. Their Construction, Management and History..
<S4>Unpublished Document: Thorogood, P.. 2000. Duck Decoys of Norfolk (UEA BA Dissertation ref HISH 3P2Y).
<S5>Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
<S6>Map: Waxham Enclosure Map.
<S7>Map: Wright, J.. 1840. Waxham Tithe Map.

Related records

42091Related to: Post medieval duck decoy and possible medieval peat cutting (Monument)

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