Parish Summary: Great Moulton

This Parish Summary is an overview of the large amount of information held for the parish, and only selected examples of sites and finds in each period are given. It has been beyond the scope of the project to carry out detailed research into the historical background, documents, maps or other sources, but we hope that the Parish Summaries will encourage users to refer to the detailed records, and to consult the bibliographical sources referred to below. Feedback and any corrections are welcomed by email to

Great Moulton is a small parish is in the south of the county. It is east of Aslacton and west of Wacton. The village was probably settled during the Saxon period as suggested by the parish name which derives from Old English and probably means 'Mula's village' or 'place where mules are kept'. The earliest mention of the village in historical documents is 1035 and it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as having a church and a mill. There are only twenty four records for the parish in the NHER, but this covers finds dating from the Neolithic to the post medieval period. 

Illustration of Iron Age mirror handle.

An Iron Age mirror handle decorated with red enamel. (© NCC.)

The earliest find is a Neolithic polished flint axehead (NHER 19147). A prehistoric worked flint flake (NHER 15327) has also been found in a garden in the village. An Iron Age mirror handle (NHER 29017) is evidence for activity here in the later prehistoric period. Several Roman objects have also been recovered. A Roman copper alloy simplified Aesica brooch (NHER 28832) was found by a metal detectorist. Several Roman coins (NHER 40239 and 39873) have also been recovered. A more unusual find is a Roman gold aureus coin (NHER 40899) which was also found by a metal detector.

Historical evidence suggests the village was settled in the Saxon period but there is remarkably little archaeological evidence to reinforce this interpretation. A single rim fragment of a large Late Saxon pottery storage vessel (NHER 35663) is the only Saxon find in the parish. Finds from the medieval period are more plentiful. Parts of St Michael's Church date to the Norman period although it has been extensively renovated, repaired and extended throughout the 13th, 15th and 19th centuries. The site of All Saints' Church, Little Moulton (NHER 10969) also dates to the medieval period but the church was demolished in 1570 and there are no archaeological remains to be seen. Three medieval moats (NHER 10081, 24039 and 10073) have been recorded in the parish. One of these may have a small adjoining deer park (NHER 10073). Metal detectorists have also recovered several interesting medieval finds including a 13th century gold stirrup-shaped finger ring (NHER 36608) with a setting for a stone and a copper alloy chafing dish (NHER 34600) used for heating up other vessels.

Black or Moulton Mill (NHER 15314) has been demolished but was recorded in the 19th century as being the oldest mill in Norfolk. The post mill here was in use until 1904 and was burnt down in 1930. The oldest parts of Woodrow Farm (NHER 15327) belong to the 15th or 16th century but like the church it has been altered and parts of it were rebuilt in the 17th and 19th centuries. Woodrow Farm is a timber framed building, as are Rose Tree Farm (NHER 41253) and White Farmhouse (NHER 41254) both of which date to the 17th century. The Italianate style Old Rectory (NHER 13117) was designed in 1832 by Donthorne, the Norfolk architect. This is one of only two standing examples of Donthorne's domestic architecture. Post medieval evidence isn't confined to buildings however. A pottery pipkin or saucepan handle (NHER 14412) has also been recovered from the parish.

Megan Dennis (NLA), 9 January 2006.


Further Reading

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book, 33 Norfolk, Part I (Chichester, Philimore)

Knott, S., 2004. 'Great Moulton tin Church, Stowmarket, Suffolk'. Available: Accessed 9 January 2006.

Mills, A.D., 1998. Dictionary of English Place Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B., 1999. The Buildings of England. Norfolk 2. North-west and south (London, Penguin Books)

Rye, J., 2000. A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place-names (Dereham, The Larks Press)


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