Record Details

NHER Number:33387
Type of record:Monument
Name:Post-medieval water meadows


System of post-medieval floated water meadows visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs, and as water filled earthworks on the 1953 RAF Floodlight photography. Appear to be ploughed level.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 6693 3816
Map Sheet:TF63NE

Full description

June 1946.
RAF air photograph shows field, truncated by the railway, with a network of north to south ditches about 5m apart, with two east to west causeways and a central north to south causeway, showing as earthworks.
Simple 'floated' water meadow system, although not possible to be sure as to how its flow was consistently achieved, probably into northwest corner from Heacham River.
Identified in (S1).
(S2) names field as Water Meadow. Now arable.
Sketch plotted onto County Series 25 inch map.
B. Cushion (NLA) January 1998.

March 2002. Norfolk NMP.
System of post-medieval floated water meadows, covering an area 450m by 200m, visible as cropmarks on both RAF 1946 (S3) and Meridian and OS aerial photographs from 1967 (S4( to (S5) and as water filled earthworks on the 1953 RAF Floodlight photography (S6). Floated water meadows are mentioned as existing in 1810 in Heacham, although it is not clear if these are the same system. A further set of water meadows run along the side of the Heacham River valley and is probably those that are referred to. However, the dating is may be quite similar. Most examples in Norfolk are thought to date from 1795 to 1815 (Wade-Martins & Williamson, 1994:27) (S1).The main area of the site is centred on TF 6687 3819 and measures around 175m by 190m. This consists of two main southwest to northwest aligned slightly raised banks, 9m wide. A third bank is visible only on the Meridian photograph (S4), this is more fragmentary and doesn’t run across the whole site. Two corresponding thickness banks run at right angles to these features. In between these are much narrower banks, 4 to 7m wide, following the same northwest to southeast orientation. These low ridges are separated by ditches, which are up to 3m wide. These ditches link into a main drain, which runs along the southern side of the southwest to northeast banks. These banks and ditches, which are similar to ridge and furrow, form a bedwork system of floated water meadow. Water must have been fed by a leat from the Heacham River to the north into this series of water channels. The drains that surround and cut through the site probably formed part of the water catchment system. To the west of the main site, at TF 6674 3812, additional drains could be seen as water-filled channels on the 1953 RAF Floodlight photograph (S6). To the east of the main body of the site is a fragmentary continuation of the bank and ditch bedwork system, suggesting that the site was originally much more extensive. These are only clearly visible on the Meridian image (S4).
S. Massey (NMP), 19 March 2002.

Monument Types

  • SITE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WATER MEADOW (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: RAF. RAF TF 63/TF 6637/D.
<S1>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. pp 20-37.
<S2>Map: 1819. Plan of Heacham Marshes.
<S3>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1571 4104-5 07-JUN-1946 (Norfolk SMR TF 6737A-B).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1967. MAL 67028 042 16-APR-1967.
<S5>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1967. OS/67069 162-3 26-APR-1967 (Norfolk SMR TF 6637A).
<S6>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. RAF V.82/707 0637 04-FEB-1953 (Norfolk SMR TF 6638C).

Related records - none

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