Record Details

NHER Number:27236
Type of record:Monument
Name:Cropmarks of possible medieval field system and undated ditches, north of Manor Farm, Witton


Cropmarks of a field system or enclosure complex of possible medieval date and other undated ditches are visible on aerial photographs.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 33597 31407
Map Sheet:TG33SW

Full description

January 2005. Norfolk NMP.
Cropmarks of a field system or enclosure complex of possible medieval date and other undated ditches are visible on aerial photographs (S1-12). These cropmarks are located at TG 3366 3141 and were previously recorded as NHER 6978 and parts of 6979 and 16645.

The main element of these cropmarks is a group of rectilinear enclosures centred on TG 3373 3143 (S1-3) where they were previously recorded as NHER 6978 (context 1). The central part of this group is defined by roughly west to east and north to south aligned boundaries. From the centre point they extend for up to 92m to the east, 165m to the west and 125m to the north and south.

Several incomplete enclosures or fields are present in the area to the southwest of the centre point. A roughly 55m square field appears is centred on TG 3364 3140 with a possible trackway extending along its eastern side. This trackway separates it from a second possible field defined by an L-shaped ditch and centred on TG 3369 3140. A further two fields centred on TG 3359 3142 and TG 3358 3137 are present at the western edge of this group. A large rectangular pit, measuring 5m by 6m is visible in the southern of these two fields at TG 33595 31360. This feature may be an extraction pit of unknown date. Other west to east aligned ditches, which cannot be obviously related to the fields described, are also present in this southwest area. A west to east aligned double ditch cropmark between TG 3368 3142 and TG 3372 3142 forms part of the northern limit of this southwest area. This cropmark has previously been interpreted as a possible droveway (S13). However, it appears to be blocked at its eastern end by a short ditch and may just be a double-ditched field boundary. A possible ring ditch, previously recorded in this southwest area (S13), was not visible as a convincing cropmark on any of the aerial photographs examined and was not mapped.

A broad 92m long ditch, and a second narrower ditch running parallel along its north side, define the southeast area of cropmarks. The broad ditch turns south and widens to 4m at its western end and turns to the northeast at its eastern end. It has been suggested that these ditches also represent a trackway or droveway (S13). Although this is a possible interpretation, they appear to be blocked by a north to south ditch at their western end making field boundaries a more likely interpretation. To the south of the broad ditch is a roughly north to south aligned 3.5m wide field boundary ditch cropmark. The area defined to its west is further subdivided by a roughly west to east ditch creating an incomplete enclosure with internal dimensions of 44m by 24m. The area to the east of the broad north to south ditch contains cropmarks of a building and enclosure interpreted as a possible chapel (NHER 27233). These cropmarks are crossed by a west to east aligned ditch that continues intermittently for up to 90m between TG 3373 3142 and TG 3382 3142. At its western end, it appears to connect with the double-ditched field boundary along the northern side of the southwest area. Its relationship to the building cropmarks indicates more than one phase of activity is represented. Due to an area of different soil or geology cropmarks were not clearly visible across much of this southeast area.

A roughly west to east aligned ditch between TG 3376 3148 and TG 3383 3148 appears to represent the main division within the north east area. The western boundary of this area is defined by a ditch that extends for 125m between TG 3373 3143 and TG 3372 3156. At its northern end this turns west for 78m before turning again to the southwest to form a trapezoidal area. The northern part of the ditch, previously recorded as NHER 6979 (context 4) and NHER 16645 (context 2), is between 2m and 3m wide (S4, S11). The southern part appears as a narrower cropmark of up to 1.5m in width. The western part of this cropmark continues for up to 430m southwest from the northwest corner of the trapezoidal enclosure. However, it also appears as a narrower cropmark in the fields to the south. The southern part of this linear was visible only as a negative linear cropmark and soilmark (S5, S10). Two parallel narrow ditches on the same alignment as this linear are also present at its northeast end cutting across the trapezoidal enclosure. It is possible that they represent a trackway which pre- or post-dates the field boundary ditch with the negative cropmark at the southwest end indicating a compacted or metalled surface. However there is no other evidence for this trackway along the length of the southwest to northeast aligned field boundary. The trapezoidal enclosure or field measures 137m by between 80m and 177m in size. Although a number of ditch cropmarks are visible within this area none of these clearly define subdivisions within it. Fragmentary north to south ditches at TG 3364 3145 and TG 3365 3150 may also form part of contemporary enclosures within the trapezoidal enclosure.Two undated incomplete rectilinear enclosures are present in its southeast corner at TG 3371 3144. These enclosures lie on a slightly different alignment to the trapezoidal enclosure and are crossed by its ditch.

A number of other cropmarks are also present within this area, principally on northwest to southeast and southwest to northeast alignments. Although some of these could be related to the southwest to northeast ditch along the western side of the group, none of these are directly connected to it. It is more likely that they form part of an undated fragmentary field system that continues to the west (NHER 27237).

The main group of cropmarks appears to represent a field system or enclosure complex. They have previously been likened to the layout of a deserted village or a group of small fields divided by droveways (S13). The interpretation of the parallel ditch cropmarks in the central area as droveways is uncertain and it is more likely that they are simply double-ditched field boundaries. The presence of the possible chapel cropmarks (NHER 27233) in this area may suggest a medieval or early post medieval date. However, only relatively small quantities of Saxon, medieval and post medieval pottery have been recovered from these fields (NHER 6978 context 2, 6979 context 1, 16645 context 1) and it is unlikely that there was any substantial settlement present. The southwest to northeast aligned ditch along the western side of this group is clearly connected to the main field system. However, its alignment is also similar to that of the earlier fragmentary field system that extends across this area and the area to the west (NHER 27237). It is possible that this boundary is a survival from the earlier field system which, perhaps due to the trackway along it, was incorporated in the later field system. The main field system cropmarks do not correspond with any boundaries marked on the 1827 Witton enclosure map (S14).
J. Albone (NMP), 28 January 2005

Monument Types

  • ENCLOSURE (Unknown date)
  • FIELD (Unknown date)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Unknown date)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)
  • TRACKWAY (Unknown date)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FIELD (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S 01>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1977. NHER TG 3331AP-AR (NLA 47/AJK20-22) 21-JUL-1977.
<S 02>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 3331ABW (NLA 267/GBP2) 28-JUN-1990.
<S 03>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 3331AV (NLA 87/APG29) 30-JUN-1980.
<S 04>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1974. NHER TG 3331K-L (NLA 10/ADJ2-3) 08-JUL-1974.
<S 05>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1986. NHER TG 3331ABQ-ABT (NLA 184/DCU16-20) 29-JUL-1986.
<S 06>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1979. NHER TG 3331AU (NLA 73/AMS13) 17-JUL-1979.
<S 07>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 3331AW (NLA 87/APH1) 30-JUN-1980.
<S 08>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TG 3331AY-AZ (NLA 87/APH3-5) 30-JUN-1980.
<S 09>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 1084-5 09-JUL-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 3330A / TG 3430B).
<S 10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1968. OS/68083 177-8 25-APR-1968 (NMR).
<S 11>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1976. MAL 76053 116 29-JUN-1976 (NMR) MAL 76053 116 29-JUN-1976 (NMR).
<S 12>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1988. OS/88130 168-9 27-MAY-1988 (NMR).
<S 13>Article in Serial: Lawson, A. J. 1983. The Archaeology of Witton, near North Walsham. East Anglian Archaeology. No 18. p 93.
<S 14>Map: Glegg, J.. 1827. Map of the Parishes of Witton, Bacton, Edingthorpe and Paston (NRO C/Sca 2/338).

Related records - none

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