Record Details

NHER Number:5626
Type of record:Monument
Name:Weeting Castle, medieval moated manor house and Late Saxon occupation site


Weeting Castle was a medieval masonry manor house, built around 1180 within a moated enclosure. It was probably constructed for Ralph de Plaiz. The enclosure measures 80m north to south by around 56m east to west. Inside the enclosure is also an 18th century icehouse (NHER 64610), which once served a now demolished 18th century hall (NHER 5637).
The house itself is a hall house constructed of flint rubble with stone dressings. It contained a central aisled hall with a service room to the north and a tower of three storeys to the south. A narrower range of at least two sotreys extended southwards from the tower towards the moat. Parts of the ruin survive to three storeys, as does the base of the hall dais, the remains of an undercroft and a chimney.
Excavations in 1964 revealed Late Saxon ditches and pottery, and a 12th century hall, as well as the sites of Early Saxon and Middle Saxon huts and a Late Saxon hall.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 7777 8912
Map Sheet:TL78NE

Full description

April 1926. Scheduled.
The monument includes the earthwork moated site and the ruins of the 12th century hall house known as Weeting Castle, together with buried remains relating to earlier occupation of the site during the 10th or 11th century and a post-medieval ice house (NHER 64610) which stands in the north west corner of the moated island. It is located c.750m north of the centre of the village of Weeting, c.82m ESE of the parish Church of St Mary and c.430m NNE of the remains of the ruined Church of All Saints, and was formerly within the grounds of Weeting Hall (now demolished).
H. White, (NLA), 11 September 2009

Described by R R Clarke in 1955 as 11th century by William de Warenne, later occupied by de Plaiz from early 12th century, passing to the Howards in the late 14th century. However, DoE now describe it as a building of c1180 by Ralph de Plais. Remains are flint with stone trimmings, standing inside a moat (wet at certain times) square, flat-bottomed, 50' wide and 8' deep; no curtain wall. Large 2- storey aisled hall, with upper fireplaces on South wall, most of the west and all of the east walls gone. Only stumps remain of a wing on the North of this, but on the south a three-storey residential tower largely survives. On its ground floor in the north walls are three blocked arches, or else springing of vaulting, in stone. Joist holes. Chimney shafts and staircase shafts survive; the tallest is at the southwest corner, made almost tracery-like by erosion and stone robbing. Present southernmost room has two round headed windows surviving, but there are traces of further south extensions. All recently consolidated by DoE.
For details of the ice house, see NHER 64610.
Visited by E. Rose, 5 December 1979.
Updated by H. White, (NLA), 11 September 2009.

1964-1966. Excavations.
Three seasons of excavations undertaken by Ministry of Public Works as part of a programme to repair and consolidate the ruins. in 1964 revealed earlier wooden building.
A report on this work was produced in 1995 (S1), which incorporates information from a geophysical survey undertaken in 1994 (see below) and additional documentary research. A brief summary of the first season of work can also be found in (S2).

The excavations, as described in (S1) and (S2), refer to three Late Saxon ditches found beneath the south chamber block with Thetford and St Neots ware in the fill, the earliest contained burnt daub, a second a cut pre reform halfpenny of Edgar. The 12th century hall was demolished and rebuilt when the south chamber was added. A trial trench in the hall revealed a heavily burnt malm floor. Some Thetford and St Neots ware was identified beneath the chamber block but no early medieval ware through this, although it is common on the rest of the site.
E. Rose (NLA), 1986. Updated by H. White, (NLA), 11 September 2009

18 August 1979. Within moated area, north of stone buildings, in molehills.
2 medieval coarse grey body sherds,
A. Rogerson, (NLA), 4 September 1979.

Drawing of castle by Tom Martin c.1740 shows it much the same as it is now.

Pre-1984. Casual Find.
Molehill near north end of the buildings. Context 2.
Medieval body sherd unglazed and 1 sherd "software."
A. Rogerson, (NLA), 4 June 1984

1994. Geophysical Survey.
Few obvious linear features were noted, although a number of ditches relating to the 1966 excavations were identified. High resistance features corroborated the lines of the foundations of the kitchen and courtyard wall. A possible fireplace was noted within the kitchen area. In the centre of the hall two areas of high resistance may be the pier bases for a central arcade.
See report (S1) for further details.
H. White, (NLA), 11 September 2009

1995. Casual find.
In molehills north of the building.
Five medieval sherds, possibly Grimston.
K. Sussams, SAU.

August 1996. Revised scheduling.
The moated site is sub-rectangular in plan, and surrounds a central raised island. Access across the moat would originally have been provided by a bridge, probably timber, which no longer survives above ground. At the western end of the northern arm is a dished earthen causeway which is not original but was possibly constructed as a means of access to the icehouse. The remains of the medieval hall house are located in the middle of the southern half of the island.
See (S3) for further information
H. White, (NLA), 11 September 2009

1998. Casual find.
Within moated enclosure.
Two probable Thetford ware sherds found in molehills to the north of remains.
Two medieval unglazed sherds.
One broken unglazed sherd found in molehill south of remains.
A. Rogerson, (NLA), 13 August 1998.

April 1999. Norwich- Rouen seminar.
S. Heslop (UEA) noted that the height of the hall was equal to that of Norwich castle hall in the keep. It was on a cross passage plan but as a later kitchen was built beyond the services there was presumably a passage to this, now destroyed. The solar fireplace was flanked by two 'windows' even though one had to be blank because of the garder block behind. There was no access between the hall and the chamber block, perhaps to emphasize the difference in function.
However, Mr P. Dixon intervened to say that recent works have revealed a straight staircase in the oversailing wall between hall and chamber, which ran from a door in the first floor of the chamber block to a door in the gable above the hall and back to the second floor of the chamber block. Marks on the gable suggest there was a four-aisled hall, all of the aisles being of the same height, so that the roof did not slope. This was raised up above an under croft with a 'network of arches'. Not surprisingly it fell down and was rebuilt as a standard aisled hall. A combination of this information was published in (S4). See also (S5)
E. Rose, (NLA) 19 April 1999. Updated by H. White, (NLA), 11 September 2009

1999. Earthwork Survey.
The remains of a 12th/13th century fortified manor house are surrounded by a moat with evidence for linking ditches. An icehouse (NHER 64610) within the north-west corner of the moat originally served the now-demolished 18th century hall (NHER 5637).
See unpublished report (S9) for plan and further details.
This site was included in monograph (S10), and a brief summary of the survey is included in (S11).
D. Holburn (HES), 28 November 2011.

April 2000. Documentary Research.
(S6) deems it unlikey that Weeting Castle had an undercroft, and also refutes the claim that the building was built in two phases. The staircase in the oversailing wall may also be interpreted as a window looking down into the hall, as there is no trace of ground level access.
See (S6) for further details,
H. White, (NLA), 17 September 2009

May 2006. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of excavation of post holes for new information panels. No contexts used.
No archaeological finds or features.
See report (S7) for further details.
J. Allen (NLA), 1 March 2007.

August 2016. 'Brecks from Above' and Breckland National Mapping Programme.
The site of the medieval moated manorial site of Weeting Castle was visible on aerial photographs, although the majority do not offer any additional information to that recorded in the earthwork survey and plan of the site produced in 1999 (S9). The main addition to the site is the identification of some additional structural elements to the north of the building, which are visible as parchmarks in July 2006 (S12)-(S13). Some clearly relate to the remains of the exposed masonry foundations recorded during the survey, but additional possible sub-surface walls may visible to the north and west. Other patchier linear marks were visible to the north but were not mapped as it was felt some related to recent activity and vegetation marks. It is not clear whether all of the mapped parchmarks are contemporary to the manor house or later structures built against the walls.
S. Horlock (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 17 August 2016.

Monument Types

  • GRUBENHAUS (Early Saxon - 410 AD to 650 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Early Saxon to Middle Saxon - 410 AD to 850 AD)
  • DITCH (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • ROUND HOUSE (DOMESTIC) (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • BUILDING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DITCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FLOOR (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • GRANARY (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • GREAT HALL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • PIT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WELL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • AISLED BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HALL HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POST HOLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PRIVY HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ICEHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • COIN (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • NEEDLE (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • TEXTILE EQUIPMENT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRIQUETAGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIGURINE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISH HOOK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HAMMER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • JUG (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LAMP (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PADLOCK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PENDANT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOGGLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FISH HOOK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • KNIFE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TL7789 A-G,H-L.
---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF180.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TL 7788AD - AG.
---Unpublished Document: Weeting History Group. 2002. The History of Weeting Castle..
---Monograph: Liddiard, R.. 2000. Landscapes of lordship: Norman castles and the countryside in medieval Norfolk, 1066-1200.. pp 89-90.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TL 78 NE 17 [4].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Correspondence: 1996. Correspondance between K. Sussams and I. Miller. 28 June.
---Unpublished Document: Ayers, B.. 1999. Weeting Castle.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. [Photograph of Weeting Castle]. 29 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2001. Vandals force castle closure. 31 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2002. Castle shut again due to vandals. 16 February.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 756.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Priory 'wow factor' - Romance and power remembered in the stones. 3 November.
---Article in Serial: Baggs, A. P. 1980. Weeting Castle. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 p 356.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Weeting.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 3-9.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1956. [Photograph of Weeting Castle]. 5 September.
---Newspaper Article: [Illustration of Weeting Castle].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1950. First visit in eighty years. 4 August.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF180.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Mcgee, C. and Perkins, J. 1995. Analytical Archive Report on Weeting Castle. English Heritage.
<S2>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1966. Medieval Britain in 1964. Medieval Archaeology. pp 190-191.
<S3>Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF180.
<S4>Article in Monograph: Heslop, T.. 2002. Weeting Castle. Medieval Houses in Normandy and England. Pitte, R. (ed.). pp 131-142.
<S5>Article in Serial: Pitte, D and Ayers, B. 1999. The Medieval House in Normandy and England.. Proceedings of seminars in Rouen and Norwich.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Heslop, T.. 2000. Weeting "Castle", a 12th century hall house in Norfolk.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Crawley, P. 2006. An Archaeological Watching Brief during the installation of new information panels at Weeting Castle. NAU Archaeology. 1172.
<S8>Archive: NIAS. Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society Records.
<S9>Unpublished Report: Cushion, B. 1999. Weeting Castle SMR 5626. Earthwork Survey Report.
<S10>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 182.
<S11>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2000. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1999. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt III pp 521-543. p 540.
<S12>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR 24368/6-7 17-JUL-2006 (HEA Original Print).
<S13>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR 24300/11-15 17-JUL-2006 (HEA Original Print).

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