Record Details

NHER Number:26762
Type of record:Monument
Name:Post medieval sea defence bank to the west of Thornham harbour


A post medieval sea defence and land reclamation bank with various extensions and offshoots appears on the edge of Thornham saltmarshes on maps dating to the 1820s. It is also appears on 20th century maps and aerial photographs (along with a western extension NHER 26761). It is probably later in date than an adjacent east to west aligned sea defence bank (NHER 26763). A modern sea defence bank closely follows its course, within which it may survive.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 7238 4436
Map Sheet:TF74SW

Full description

January 2001. NMP.
A continuous length of earthwork bank with various extensions and offshoots can be seen on 1945 aerial photographs (S1) in the area of TF 71 44. The feature is also visible on a 1971 aerial photograph (S2) - little altered. The course of the bank is also shown on the Ordance Survey 2nd edition map (S3) - depicted as an earthwork. It also appears on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (S4), following virtually the same course as on the modern aerial photographs. The location and extent of the earthwork point to it being a major component of the sea defences in this area. It skirts the south of the salt marshes, presumably enabling the reclamation of land to the south of the bank. The bank extends some 2.5km west into Holme-next-the -Sea parish - this section is recorded under NHER 26761.

The section of bank in Holme-next-the-Sea is depicted, in simple form, on (S5). The bank was obviously in existence by the early 19th century, and appears to have been improved and extended throughout the course of the 19th century, until it reached a form recognisable in today's feature, around 1900. This would suggest that the bank feature NHER 26763 is more likely to be a previous land reclamation attempt, of post medieval date. The only unusual feature of this bank is that at its eastern end, a second bank at TF 7277 4413 to TF 7281 4391 has formed an enclosure. Whether or not this had a specific function, such as for the fishing/shellfish industry, is unclear.
A. Hunt (NMP), 24 January 2001.

May-November 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey.
Inter-tidal survey (Environmental Zone 7), Context 1035:
A modern sea bank located on the western side of Thornham harbour. It may overlie an earlier bank.
See assessment report (S6) for further details.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.421).
J. Allen (NLA), 15 April 2005. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 21 July 2019.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2100 AD)
  • SEA DEFENCES (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK 369 Frames 4275-4277 8-JUN-1945 (NMR).
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Fairey Surveys Ltd. 1971. (Fairey Surveys Ltd) 7181 Frame 5674 06-SEP-1971.
<S3>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1905. OS 2nd Edition 25" 1905 Sheets I.14 & I.15.
<S4>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1824-27. OS 1st Edition 1" 1824-1827 Sheet 508.
<S5>Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Robertson, D., Crawley, P., Barker, A., and Whitmore, S. 2005. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 1045.

Related records

26761Related to: Post medieval sea defence and reclamation bank (Monument)

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