Record Details

NHER Number:36839
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmarks of medieval road and post medieval garden features


An area containing possibly medieval but mostly post medieval banks, walls and ditches are visible as a series of complex cropmarks on 1946 RAF vertical and 1976 and Norfolk Landscape Archaeology oblique aerial photographs. The features are situated within Holkham Park, NHER 1802, and are probably related to the pre-park landscape and post medieval garden features.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 8843 4249
Map Sheet:TF84SE

Full description

NMR air photography.
Fragmentary linear parchmark of possible east to west trackway, a second north to south and branching northwest and northeast, and linear (?garden) features.
A. Miller (Suffolk CC NMP).
D. Gurney (NLA), 13 February 2002.

June 2002. Norfolk NMP.
Features visible as cropmarks within the south lawns of Holkham Hall (NHER 1801) within Holkham Park (NHER 1802). These features have been mapped from three main aerial photograph sources (S1 to S3) as they do not all appear on any on single image. The same anomalies appear on different photographic images as seemingly negative and positive cropmarks, not always allowing for a definitive interpretation on the nature of the features causing the cropmarks. The easternmost linear feature formerly within this site is now part of NHER 27847.
A large linear parchmark running in an east to west direction across the centre of the site (S2) is probably the remains of the former main road through Holkham, prior to the 18th century. In 1590 this road is depicted as having crofts to each side (S4), including one within this site area. To the south are a series of east to west aligned parchmarks that appear to have compartmentalised rectilinear and square areas within them. These may represent the buried wall foundations or edges of post medieval garden features although they are not on the same alignment as the Hall.
At the southern end of the site there is a marked striped geology visible as cropmarks (S2), which may mask the overlying archaeology to some extent. The southern edge of the site appears to be bounded by an east to west aligned bank or track (TF 8847 4231 to TF 8829 4231), with a discernible length of 180m. To the north of this is a right-angled length of bank that appears to be archaeological, but also follows the edge of the geological anomalies. This may represent a garden wall or retaining bank that is aligned with some minor topographical change not discernible on the aerial photographs.
There is an amorphous linear feature running in an approximate north to south direction, from the centre of the site, across the southern area and beyond the southern boundary bank. The feature has a recorded length of 250m, and varies in width from 1m to 18m. At different times the feature appears as a dark (S1) and light (S2) anomaly although this is almost certainly an excavated or sunken feature, possibly filled with silts that produce a light parchmark under extreme conditions. This appears to be a watercourse, possibly feeding the lake or a water feature.
Within the northern part of the site, to the immediate south of the hall, are an equally complex series of cropmarks that are likely to largely represent post medieval garden features but may also contain elements of the medieval landscape. At the southern end of the lake are a series of curvilinear and straight banks or trackways, that are difficult to decipher chronologically. The easternmost feature (TF 8827 4277 to TF 8831 4269) within this group appears as a curvi-linear parchmark (S1) although this could actually be caused by the feature being filled by silt. The feature may be a road but is equally likely to be the watercourse that supplied water from the dam on the lake to the South Lawn Basin, as depicted in 1781 (S4, 101). Curiously there appears to be very little trace of this water feature that occupied a large part of the South Lawn during the mid eighteenth century.
The remaining features within this area may also be channels and water features, including the circular area of parching (TF 8826 4268), that probably represents a garden feature, although these could equally be levelled bank features. The remaining features to the immediate south of the hall are likely to be date from the various phases of post medieval garden landscape. Although it seems likely it is not absolutely certain that the present hall sits directly over the site of the former one. If the current building had been built 50m to the north of the earlier one, then some of these features may represent the remains of the earlier hall building.
M. Brennand (NMP), 18 June 2002.

Monument Types

  • GARDEN FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • TRACKWAY (Unknown date)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GARDEN FEATURE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STRUCTURE? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WATER CHANNEL? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Map: NMP Plot.
---Aerial Photograph: NMR. TF 8842/1, 39, 47, 52-3, 60.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1430 2126-7 16-APR-1946 (NMR).
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1976. SMR TF 8842A (NLA 29/AFJ19) 06-JUL-1976.
<S3>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1989. SMR TF 8842AP (NLA 227/DKJ7) 26-JUN-1989.
<S4>Monograph: Williamson, T.. 1998. Archaeology of the Landscape Park: Garden Design in Norfolk, England, c. 1680-1840.. BAR (British Series). Vol 268.

Related records

1802Part of: Holkham Park (Designed Landscape)

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