Record Details

NHER Number:13784
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval saltern converted into post medieval fortification


The probable medieval saltern here was converted to an artillery fort at the time of the Spanish Armada, or possibly the Civil War. This location may have been strategically important to guard the approach up the River Ouse. It is worth noting that cannon have been found here.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6338 2229
Map Sheet:TF62SW

Full description

Rectangular earthwork about 91m x 137m (300ft x 450ft), cut by railway line, identified at end of Wootton Drift.
Perhaps the 'sconce' or fort referred to in 1588 at the 'croche' (river bifurcation) 'a myle distant from Lynn where the channel is narrowest'.
See (S1) and (S2).
Two cannon probably found here - photo at KLM (copy in file).
Earthwork now ploughed out - information from KLM.
Medieval sherds also found here according to KLM map.
E. Rose (NAU) 2 March 1989.

Southeast quadrant of area as marked on record map built over by housing. Southwest quadrant derelict land; northern half under crop. No visible features in any of these. However, to north at Context 2 at TF 6340 2239; OS 1:10,000 (date unknown) shows apparent corner of rectangular enclosure projecting east of old railway and marked as Civil War Fort (not 1588). Ordnance Survey coastal air photograph 1967 shows dark polygon here, all east of railway, but very small for a fort. No surface trace except perhaps darkening of soil in ploughed field. No trace at all west of railway; circle shown on same map is depression about 2m deep, probably old pit.
Some distance to southwest of road/railway crossing are mounds or undulations up to 2m high, being cut into for factory estate and composed of red-brown earth; suggested by [1] as saltern mounds - but several undulations in this area.
Survey in file.
Information from (S3).
R.J. Rickett (NAU) 27 March 1990.

For the original of (S1) see lecture notes by the late Mr Talbot filed under NHER 5486.

October 2002. Norfolk NMP.
The centre of this site is a sub-rounded mound with a potential east to west length of 115m and a width of 80m. This is almost certainly a saltern mound, and forms a small group along with sites NHER 27129, 27130 and 27131. This in turn is part of an extensive saltern complex on the former saltmarsh at South Wootton. Dating evidence for the salterns is scarce although isolated finds from sites further to the north would suggest that the majority of these mounds are medieval in date.
The mound is enclosed by a relatively large sub-rectangular ditch, which has a width of up to 8m in 1946 (S4), although it may be much altered and silted up by that time. The ditch may be contemporary with the saltern but the size of the features has given rise to the identification of the site as a fort, possibly from the Spanish Armada period (1588). Two cannon were also allegedly found on the site. This location may have been strategically important to guard the approach up the River Ouse, and a saltern mound may have been utilised to build such an installation under urgent circumstances. However, NHER 31431 to the immediate west appears more like a fortified site, although they may both be fortifications of different periods.
To the immediate southeast of the mound is a smaller sub-rectangular ditched enclosure with an east to west length of 24m and a width of 18m. This feature is similar to the platform on saltern mound NHER 27130, and might represent the site of a post medieval structure.
See also NHER 31431.
M. Brennand (NMP) 25 October 2002.

Monument Types

  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • SALTERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FORT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CANNON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: 33 7 14068, 17 93641-3, 96952, 28 67 002.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Unpublished Document: Talbot, E.. 1968. King's Lynn: The Civil War. Draft notes for talk.
---Article in Serial: Massey, S., Brennand, M. and Clare, H. 2003. The National Mapping Programme in Norfolk, 2001-3. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 335-344. pp 341, 343; Fig 5.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Article in Serial: Cozens-Hardy, B. 1938. Norfolk Coastal Defences in 1588. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXVI Pt III pp 310-314. p 312.
<S2>Article in Serial: Hurst, D. G. 1968. Post-Medieval Britain in 1967. Post-Medieval Archaeology. Vol 2 (for 1968) pp 175-194. pp 176-177.
<S3>Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 62 SW 50 [3].
<S4>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1427 3124-5 16-APR-1946 (SMR TF 6223B).

Related records - none

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