Record Details

NHER Number:12445
Type of record:Monument
Name:Moat and manor site of the Bishops of Norwich, Blofield


Documentary sources and earthworks survey have identified this as a medieval moat and manor site probably belonging to the Bishops of Norwich. Excavations at the site revealed no features and few finds dating to the medieval and post medieval periods and this suggests that the site may have been levelled off at some stage, probably whilst the land was being ploughed for agriculture. Cropmarks and earthworks are visible on aerial photographs.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 330 090
Map Sheet:TG30NW

Full description

Moated site or perhaps a mill?
Stream (Witton Run) forms south and east arms, sustantial linear depression in arable field forming west, and another in garden forms north side.

Pre 1981.
Small holes dug in interior by owner. Various finds recovered including:
1 Palaeolithic flint scraper. Identified by E. Rose (NAU), February 1981. From backfill or silting of northern arm.
Medieval brick fragments (4cm thick, purple/cream fabric, external straw impressions). Two samples retained.
1 medieval/post-medieval pottery sherd (16th century glazed earthenware).
Also mortar fragments, and mortar and limewashed wallplaster, with numerous animal bones (mammalian).
E. Rose (NAU), 19 February 1981. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 6 May 2014.

February 1981.
About seventy medieval sherds, predominantly coarse, some glazed Grimston and non-Grimston. Two post medieval stoneware, one post medieval glazed, collected from central area about 40 square metres.

Much more 12th-13th century sherds, some very abraded perhaps glazed Grimston with glaze worn off.
W. Milligan (NCM).

1982. NARG survey.
Suggests site of Bishop's Palace and later the seat of Edward Paston in 1586.
See (S1).

Pre 1986. Stray Find.
A Late Upper Palaeolithic flint long blade core from Blofied is listed in a catalogue compiled by N. Barton (Donald Baden-Powell Quaternary Research Centre, Oxford). According to information supplied by J. J. Wymer this object was in the possession of [1], with the estimated grid reference given suggesting that it had probably been found at this site. It is noted that a scraper had also been found, possibly a reference to the implement found around 1981 (see above). It should be noted that this core was not amongst those subsequently listed in (S10).
See copy of relevant catalogue entry in file (from British Museum Wymer Archive).
P. Watkins (HES), 12 November 2014.

21 August 1990. NAU Air photography.
Cropmarks of fields and enclosures adjacent to site of moat.
D. Edwards (NAU).

November 2000. Desk Based Assessment.
See report (S2) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA), 30 November 2000.

23 November 2000. Trial Trench.
Excavation of single trial trench.
Negative results.
Contexts 1-12.
See report (S3) for further details. The results of this work are also noted in (S9).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2018.215).
D. Gurney (NLA), 29 January 2001. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 27 April 2019.

January 2001. Archive of [1] deposited by [2] at NCM.
See (S4) and (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 2 January 2001.

The central grid reference of this site has been altered from TG 332 089 to TG 3308 0905 to include associated moated enclosures and boundaries.

June 2007. Norfolk NMP.
The cropmarks and soilmarks of a moated enclosure and boundaries associated with the Bishops' Palace are visible on aerial photographs to the immediate west and north of the site identified as the manor or Palace at TG 3319 0892 (S6-S8). The whole site is now centred on TG 3308 0905.
The western extent of the main moat is visible as both cropmarks and soilmarks and suggests an oval or oblong shape to the site. The eastern extent being indicated by the previously recorded earthworks and the course of the water channel running around the site. The ditch of the moat appears to be 8-11m wide and the remains of an outer bank are suggested by the pale soilmark surrounding the moat. An additional moated enclosure may have existed to the NE of the main one, although the cropmarks and soilmarks in this area are not clear. Additional channels and boundaries indicate a further series of enclosed areas to the west and north. Although some of these may postdate the main moated site and may be additions to the site. Any obviously post medieval elements, such as those corresponding with boundaries marked on the Tithe and Ordnance Survey maps, were omitted from the NMP mapping.
S. Massey (NMP), 28 June 2007.

August 2015. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of excavation of drainage trench through easternmost part of the site. A number of possible features could be tentatively associated with the recorded earthworks although it is noted that the identification of archaeological remains was generally hampered by both the narrow width of the trench and the fact that topsoil was not fully removed in some areas. The only definite feature recorded was a probable pit at c. TG 3321 0903.
Information from draft report. Final version awaited.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2018.74).
P. Watkins (HES), 23 March 2021.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • BISHOPS PALACE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOUNDARY BANK (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MILL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURE (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • BLADE CORE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Photograph: NAU. JWW.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Map: Finder's Map..
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 2000. Site of the former Bishop's Palace, Blofield: Report on an Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 548.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 2001. Report on an Archaeological Evaluation Excavation at the Site of the former Bishop's Palace, Blofield. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 555.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Leared, R.. 1995. Blofield Hall excavation report. 18 July.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1956. RAF 540/1778 (F22) 0048-9 16-JAN-1956 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1964. RAF 58/6402 (F21) 0026-8 06-JUL-1964 (NMR).
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1990. NHER TG 3309B-G (NLA 279/GFF3-7) 21-AUG-1990.
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 709.
<S10>Article in Serial: Robins, P. and Wymer, J. 2006. Late Upper Palaeolithic (Long Blade) Industries in Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 86-95.

Related records - none

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