Record Details

NHER Number:3481
Type of record:Monument
Name:Denbeck Wood Roman villa

Summary

A Roman villa, which was excavated in the late 1940s by the Norfolk Research Committee. The excavations revealed a courtyard with small buildings around the sides, and the remains of the main house, which had glazed windows and a tessellated floor. A possible bath house, which has pink painted wall plaster, has also been excavated to the south of the main house. Roman pottery, coins, brooches and other metalwork have been found on the site, dating mainly to the 3rd and early 4th centuries. Early Saxon pottery, brooches and other metalwork have been found on the site, as well as Middle and Late Saxon pottery and metalwork.

Images

  • The excavation of Denbeck Wood Roman villa in 1948  © Norfolk County Council
  • The excavation at Denbeck Wood Roman villa in 1947  © Norfolk County Council
  • The excavation of Denbeck Wood Roman villa in 1948  © Norfolk County Council

Location

Grid Reference:Not displayed
Map Sheet:TF72NW
Parish:FLITCHAM WITH APPLETON, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

1923 to 1928.
Roman coins, sherds and roof and floor tiles found.

1946.
Early Saxon sherd found, (S2).

1947.
Early Saxon sherd found.

1947-1948. Excavation.
Norfolk Research Committee excavation by R.R. Clarke (NCM).
Roman villa/farmstead.
2 blocks of building remains excavated.
Site A; farmyard with pits and gullies beneath, range of masonry buildings on north side. Range of occupation from about AD 150 to 330.
Site B; House with tessellated floor, infant burial beneath floor.
Possible associated field system.
Middle Saxon and Early Saxon sherds also found.
See drawings (S3)-(S27).
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2018.271).

1954.
Seal box (S28), tiles etc found.
Wall ploughed up.
Seal box donated to Sandringham Estate Museum ('York Cottage Museum').

1956.
Roman samian ware sherds.

1973. Fieldwalking.
Roman sherds and building material.

28 September 1980. Fieldwalking.
Roman pin, coins, sherds.

December 1982 to April 1984.
Roman, Late Saxon and medieval metalwork, Iron Age sherd.
See drawings (S29).

1984.
Roman nail cleaner and brooch (S30)
Late Saxon hooked tag (30).
Medieval brooch (S30).

August 1987. Found with metal detecting.
Roman coins and medieval buckle.

Spring 1988. Found with metal detecting.
Roman pin, (S31).

1991. Fieldwalking.
Roman, Middle Saxon, Late Saxon, medieval sherds.
Roman window glass.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 4 April 1991.

1992. Metal detecting.
Roman brooches.

November 1993. Metal detecting finds.
Roman nail cleaner and Late Saxon bridle side link.

1995. Metal detecting finds.
Roman brooches (including rare 'Birdlip type').
Roman, Early Saxon, Middle Saxon, Late Saxon, medieval metalwork.
Roman, Middle Saxon, Medieval coins
A. Rogerson (NLA) 2 May 1995.

March 2003. Scheduled.
Scheduling description:
The monument includes remains of a Roman villa located around the springheads of Den Beck, at the eastern end of Denbeck Wood. The site, which lies about 500m west of the ancient route known as the Icknield Way, was first identified in the 1940s, when several concentrations of Roman building materials were noted on the surface of ploughed fields to the north and south of the wood. Exploratory excavations carried out in 1947 and 1948 revealed the underlying remains of at least three buildings, although the investigations were too limited to establish details of the plans of the buildings or the layout of the villa as a whole. Pottery and coins found on and around the site are dated from around AD 150 to AD 330, suggesting that it was occupied for about 180 years.
The most extensive excavation was immediately to the north of the wood, within an area measuring about 50m SSE-NNW by 69m ESE-WNW. In the north western part of this area the remains of a rectangular structure were found, measuring approximately 23m WNW-ESE by at least 12.5m overall and interpreted by the excavator as a walled yard. On the north and west sides the foundations of the outer wall were of mortared flint rubble about 0.45m thick, and on the east side the line of the wall was marked by a foundation trench about 0.75m wide from which the stone had been removed. A series of small, walled compartments between 1.5m and 1.75m deep were ranged along the inner face of the west wall and the north west corner, and the interior to the east of these was covered by a thick layer of flint cobbles, possibly the foundation for a tile pavement, since numerous fragments of floor tile were found scattered over the site. The structure was thought to date from a period fairly late in the history of the site, and evidence for earlier occupation was found beneath the pavement. About 24m to the east of this structure, part of a wall belonging to what was probably the main house was located. This was aligned ENE-WSW, and to the north of it lay an area of flint cobbles on which rested fragmentary remains of a mosaic floor. The building materials found on and around the site included wall plaster and fragments of window glass. The area of these excavations has remained undisturbed, and the outlines of the excavation trenches and some of the upstanding foundations are still visible.
Excavations on the opposite side of the wood, about 25m south of the springs, uncovered evidence for another building with a floor of pink plaster and associated debris of stone blocks, mortared flints, floor and roof tiles. The area investigated was too limited to determine the full extent or the character of this building, although it was noted that the scatter of building material extended northward into the wood, and the location, close to the springs, suggests that it may have been a detached bath house. The bed of the stream contains numerous fragments of Roman tile.
All fence posts, two brick built dams in the stream and an upstanding brick inspection chamber adjacent to the dams are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.
Information from (S1).
M. Horlock (NLA), 15 August 2003.

Another building was excavated to the south of the main house, with pink painted wall plaster, floor and roof tiles etc. The location of the building suggests that it was a detached bath house. The building is part of the scheduled area.
See (S1).
S. Spooner (NLA) 30 November 2005.

Monument Types

  • WALL (Unknown date)
  • BATH HOUSE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FARMSTEAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TESSELLATED FLOOR (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VILLA (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Undated)
  • NAIL (Undated)
  • PENDANT (Undated)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Undated)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BEAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BROOCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BROOCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PENDANT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • QUERN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SEAL BOX (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STEELYARD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TEXTILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TOILET ARTICLE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BROOCH (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • NAIL (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • RING (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • VESSEL (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • BROOCH (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • COIN (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • HARNESS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BROOCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HARNESS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TEXTILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DIE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRESS COMPONENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KNIFE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOKEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Margeson, S. 1992. Middle and Late Saxon Norfolk. The Annual. Vol 1, pp 29-36.
---Aerial Photograph: TF7127E-F.
---Article in Serial: -. 1948. Roman Britain in 1947. Journal of Roman Studies. Vol XXXVIII pp 81-104. pp 90-91.
---Article in Serial: 1949. [unknown]. Journal of Roman Studies. Vol 39.
---Serial: 1956. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries. No 3. p 2.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 72 NW 1 [2]; TF 72 NW 19.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Article in Monograph: Gregory, A. 1982. Romano-British Settlement in West Norfolk and on the Norfolk Fen Edge. The Romano-British Countryside, Studies in Rural Settlement and Economy. Miles, D. (ed.). British Archaeological Reports British Series No 103 pp 352-376. pt ii, pp 351-376.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Flitcham-cum-Appleton [6].
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Flitcham with Appleton.
---Photograph: 1995. LCR Iron Age sceat..
---Photograph: 1995. LCX 3-4, Romano British birdlip brooch..
---Photograph: 1995. LCZ 1-2, Early Saxon brooch knob..
---Photograph: 1995. LCZ 3-4, Medieval wheel stud..
---Photograph: 1995. LCZ 5-6, Early Saxon ring with hook..
---Photograph: 1995. LCZ 7-8, Early Saxon suspension ring..
---Photograph: 1995. LCZ 9-11, Early Saxon hooked vessel fitting..
---Photograph: 1995. LCZ 12-13, Early Saxon buckle..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn Advertiser. 1947. [Articles on the excavation in 1947].
---Newspaper Article: Lynn Advertiser. 1948. Excavating at Sandringham. 8 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1947. A Roman farmhouse. 20 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1948. This digging. 16 October.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF337.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF337.
<S2>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1946. Drawing of an Early Saxon pottery sherd. Paper. 1:1.
<S3>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1950. Drawing of a Roman ?gilt copper alloy tap. Paper. 1:1.
<S4>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1950. Drawing of a Roman pottery sherd. Paper. 1:1.
<S5>Illustration: Unknown. 1950. Drawings of Roman pottery sherds. Paper. 1:1.
<S6>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1950. Drawing of a Roman pottery sherd. Paper. 1:1.
<S7>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1950. Drawing of a Roman pottery sherd. Paper. 1:1.
<S8>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1950. Drawings of Roman sherds. Paper. 1:1.
<S9>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman jar and lid. Card. 1:1.
<S10>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Sketches of Roman pottery sherds. Paper. Not to scale.
<S11>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawings of Roman pottery sherds. Paper. 1:1.
<S12>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawings of Roman pottery sherds. Paper. 1:1.
<S13>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawings of Roman pottery sherds. Paper. 1:1.
<S14>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Sketch of an Early Saxon pottery cinerary urn. Paper. Not to scale.
<S15>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawings of Roman pottery sherds. Card. 1:1.
<S16>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Sketch of a Roman mortarium pottery rim sherd. Card. 1:1.
<S17>Illustration: [Unknown]. Unknown. Drawing of a Middle Saxon Ipswich ware pottery sherd. Card. 1:1.
<S18>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman perforated copper alloy shank (possibly part of balance arm). Paper. 1:1.
<S19>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman iron tanged knife blade. Paper. 1:1.
<S20>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman iron latch-lifter with iron ring attached to handle. Paper. 1:1.
<S21>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman iron latch lifter fragment. Paper. 1:1.
<S22>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman D-shaped iron belt or strap ring. Paper. 1:1.
<S23>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of Roman thin iron blade fragments. Paper. 1:1.
<S24>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of an undated octagonal iron bar. Paper. 1:1.
<S25>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of Roman iron objects. Paper. 1:1.
<S26>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a Roman jet bead. Paper. 1:1.
<S27>Illustration: Unknown. Unknown. Drawing of a Roman object.. Card. Unknown.
<S28>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1954. Drawing of a Roman copper alloy seal box lid. Paper. 1:1.
<S29>Illustration: James, E. M. 1984. Drawings of mostly Roman copper alloy objects. Paper. 1:1.
<S30>Illustration: James, E. M. 1984. Drawings of copper alloy objects including Roman nail cleaner and enamelled brooch, Late Saxon hooked tag and a medieval brooch. Paper. 1:1.
<S31>Illustration: James, E. M. 1988. Drawing of a Roman or Saxon copper alloy pin. Paper. 1:1.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2022 Norfolk Historic Environment Service